Though Houston is seeing the kind of improvement in starters Dallas Kuechel and Collin McHugh that would give them hope for the future, that doesn't mean they are shutting the door on the possibility of trading them in the next few days. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Astros are sending out and receiving inquiries about their pitchers:
A shortage of available quality starting pitchers is creating a seller’s market as the non-waiver deadline approaches at 4 p.m. ET Thursday. And now Luhnow is open to trading Keuchel, McHugh or right-hander Jarred Cosart for the right return.
"We do seem to have an excess of pretty good young starters so we wouldn’t rule anything out," Luhnow said Monday. "We’d have to get back a big-league piece, preferably a bat, in a package that makes sense for the future and present."
Keuchel, McHugh and Cosart all have less than two years of major-league service. Any one of the three presumably could bring a hitter with comparable talent and service time in return.
Whether or not Houston would receive an offer in the neighborhood of acceptability is one thing, but the fact that they are listening denotes the organization's willingness to explore all avenues of improvement and success.
After detonating the team, implementing new and advanced metrics to update player evaluation, and building the team through trades and draft picks, the Astros are attempting a facelift similar to what the Oakland Athletics went through at the beginning of the last decade, though Houston's process has been much more abrupt and polarizing.
The overall results haven't been there yet, as the Astros lost 218 games combined through Luhnow's first two years as general manager. This season, they sit at 43-63. An improvement, but not anything worth going Steve Ballmer over.
Though the likelihood that the Astros move one of their young starters is shallow, the fact that they are willing to do so is both curious and admirable.