With the trade deadline just a little more than a month away, one thing seems inevitable: the Astros will almost definitely add a starting pitcher. Houston demoted lefty Brett Oberholtzer to Triple-A after his ejection on Saturday, and are looking for a top-line starter to add to their core group of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez.
According to a report from Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, Reds' ace Johnny Cueto is the "most attractive potential acquisition" for Houston at this point, though Cueto is also drawing interest from the Yankees, Dodgers and Blue Jays as the market heats up. Drellich adds that Houston is doing "scouting homework" on most of the starters who are thought to be available this summer, including Cole Hamels (Phillies), Cueto's teammate Mike Leake (Reds), Jeff Samardzija (White Sox), Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse (Brewers), and Scott Kazmir (Athletics). The Astros seem to want a short-term rotation solution instead of someone signed to a long-term deal, making Hamels a less likely addition.
Earlier in the week, MLB Network's Peter Gammons wrote that there is "buzz" throughout the Astros' organization about a potential deal involving Kazmir, who is likely to be dealt as the Athletics part with veterans this July. Kazmir is a Houston native and will become a free agent after the season, making him an attractive option as well.
Houston has the prospect pieces to make any deal that they want, and it appears as though they'll be aggressive as they look to add a significant piece for the stretch run. The market for all starters, including Cueto, will heat up in the immediate future as the calendar turns to July.