The Arizona Diamondbacks are definite sellers at the trade deadline. They have a number of expiring contracts and are in a tough National League west division. But the Houston Astros have made it known that they are willing to trade some of their controllable pitching for players who can help them win now. And the positions they need help at are a good fit for what the Diamondbacks should be willing to trade away.
According to mlbtraderumors.com the Astros are searching for help at first base, outfield, and catcher. The Astros backup catcher Jason Castro currently has a knee injury and left fielder Michael Brantley has a shoulder injury. Neither one of the players even have a timetable for a return. The Astros currently have a 10-game lead on the second-place Mariners and are gearing up for a long and successful post-season playoff run. Surprisingly, they are only 2 wins behind the Yankees for the most wins in the entire American League, and that coveted number one seed in the playoffs.
The stars almost seem to align for the Diamondbacks; they could trade catcher Carson Kelly, first baseman Christian Walker and left fielder David Peralta. Those three players would fill the Astro's needs nicely and could give the Diamondbacks a good return in an area they desperately need, pitching.
Houston has a current rotation of Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Christian Javier, Jake Odorizzi, and Jose Urquidy with Lance McCullers Jr. on a rehab assignment and close to returning to the big-league team.
According to a report by ESPN's Jeff Passan, the pitcher the Houston front office would rather trade from the group above is Jose Urquidy. Looking at his basic numbers he looks like a solid number three starter for most teams. He is 9-4 with a 3.93 ERA with 77 strikeouts and only 22 walks. But if you look at his numbers a little deeper you will find that his BAbip is .278 and his percentages for home runs and fly balls are both above MLB averages. That worries me in Chase Field a little. According to spotrac.com Jose is earning $748,700, will have three years of arbitration, and will become a free agent in 2026. But he recently switched agents to Scott Boras. Again, that worries me.
With the Astros having all that pitching at the major league level I would go after some of their top pitching prospects. RHP Hunter Brown, who is their top prospect according to MLB pipeline is currently in AAA where he is 6-3 with a 2.62 ERA 101 strikeouts 34 walks in 75.2 innings. He is major league with a great mix of fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. I would also love to take a chance on Forest Whitley. He was the 16th overall pick in the 2016 Draft. He went all the way to AA within a year of being signed, then ran into all kinds of injury trouble and some self-inflicted trouble as well. He served a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League drug program plus minor oblique and lat injuries in 2018, right shoulder inflammation and command issues in 2019, the pandemic shutdown and elbow soreness in 2020, and Tommy John surgery in2021.
But according to MLB pipeline, when Whitley is healthy he displayed five pitches that could grade at plus or better. His best weapons were his fastball, which ranges from 92-99 mph with cut and sink, and his mid-80s changeup, which features fade and depth and ranked among the best in the Minors. He also showed a low-80s downer curveball, a mid-80s slider with late bite and a low-90s cutter that some scouts believed was better than either of his breaking balls. Forrest is currently in AAA with the Sugar Land Skeeters building his arm strength back up. His ERA is high, but his k/bb is still 14/4, which tells me his stuff is still there.
Whichever the Diamondbacks decide to do either taking Urquidy or Brown and Whitley or I also like a reliever they just recently called up in Parker Mushinski or some combination of the 4, they should be in on trading expired contracts that can help the Astros win now for controllable pitching assets that can help the Diamondbacks win in the future.