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Astros rumors: Houston has 'inquired on' Ender Inciarte

The Astros are reportedly interested in Atlanta's center fielder.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jerry Crasnick, Houston is interested in Atlanta's center fielder, Ender Inciarte.

Inciarte was acquired by Atlanta in the megadeal with Arizona, and while he's undoubtedly a valuable player, the Braves aren't expected to contend for a couple seasons, and could ship him off for another prospect package.

In 561 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks last season, Inciarte hit .303/.338/.408 with a wOBA of .325, a wRC+ of 100, and an fWAR of 3.3 While he's always been a fantastic defensive player, his evolution into a league average hitter in 2015 increased his value by half a win over the 2014 season.

The Astros already have Carlos Gomez, but if they were able to work out a deal for Inciarte, it's easy to see why they might prefer him. In 2015, Gomez, while still an above average center fielder by several defensive metrics, paled in comparison to Inciarte. Gomez saved six runs according to DRS, whereas Inciarte saved 29. Gomez posted a UZR and UZR/150 of 5.0 and 7.8, respectively, but Inciarte finished the season with values of 14.5 and 18.5, respectively.

Another factor in Inciarte's favor is the number of years of control remaining. Gomez is set to hit free agency after the 2016 season, but Inciarte is under team control through the end of the 2020 season, which would provide Houston with stability in center going forward.

If the Astros are truly interested in acquiring Inciarte, rumors surrouding Gomez should pick up over the next few days. While players like Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, and Dexter Fowler are still available, Gomez could be more intriguing to a team that's not interested in an expensive long term commitment.