After four consecutive 90-loss seasons, the Houston Astros are currently 44-34 and hold a four-game lead over the Angels in the AL West.
The Astros will be looking to bolster their roster at the trade deadline, with a focus on the pitching staff, as they look to complete their first winning season since 2008 and make their first postseason appearance since 2005.\
Who might the Astros look to add?
The Astros are reportedly looking to bolster their rotation, with Reds ace Johnny Cueto and A's left-hander Scott Kazmir topping their priority list. Both Cueto and Kazmir would go a long way in bolstering an Astros rotation that has seen a revolving door at the back end. Collin McHugh has not been the pitcher he was last season, with a 4.51 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 101⅔ innings in 16 starts this season.
Cueto would be the big prize for Houston, with his 2.98 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 96⅔ innings this season, he would make for quite the one-two punch with lefty Dallas Keuchel at the top of the Astros' rotation.
After seeing his career rebound in Oakland, Kazmir would not be a bad consolation prize. He has a 2.79 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 90⅓ innings in his 15 starts for the Athletics this year.
After six straight losing seasons, three of which saw Houston earn the top pick in the draft, the Astros certainly have the prospects to make a deal for either Cueto, Kazmir or any of the other available trade chips they set their eyes on.
What else might Houston do at the deadline?
If the Astros do not decide to make a big move at the deadline, there will be several more low-key options available to them.
One of those options is a trade with Baltimore, who is reportedly looking to acquire outfield depth in exchange for pitching, with the Orioles having particular interest in L.J. Hoes and Alex Presley, who are currently with the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Fresno.
Whatever the Astros choose to do, it will likely not be what anyone was expecting from them as the season