Houston has consistently been in pursuit of a starting pitcher and is now interested in a pair of San Diego starters. The Astros have shown interest in Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, according to Dennis Lin of The San Diego Union-Tribune, and the clubs have had preliminary talks with regard to the starters.
Lin adds there is no deal imminent and quotes a source who told him the two sides have not had a discussion involving starting pitching since earlier this month.
While Reds ace Johnny Cueto remains Houston's primary target as the trade deadline approaches, the Astros might also consider other arms since Cueto will become a free agent at the end of the season. At 50-42 in the American League West, the Astros likely have a realistic opportunity to make the playoffs though a rental player could ultimately prove to be beneficial.
If the Astros opt to consider other alternatives, both Ross and Cashner have had a notable amount of success in 2015. Ross, 28, was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Athletics and has posted a 3.34 ERA and 2.91 FIP over 110.1 innings this season. Cashner, 28, has also proven to be a durable starting option and has posted a 4.10 ERA and 3.85 FIP over 109.2 innings with the Padres this season.
Ross and Cashner are considered to be San Diego's "two most promising" starters, according to Lin, and as a result any deal would likely require a significant return. Texas has also shown interest in both starters and the Astros might look elsewhere if the controllable Padre arms get too expensive.
In addition to adding starting pitching, the Astros are also in pursuit of a bat, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart notes. General Manager Jeff Luhnow told McTaggart adding a bat is necessary as a result of injuries to George Springer, Jed Lowrie, and Luis Valbuena. Although no deal is close, the Astros are confident they can remain competitive throughout the second half and will likely act accordingly before the end of the month.