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Astros trade notes: Francis Martes, Derek Norris

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A few notes on what to expect from Houston before the trade deadline.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll have our full Astros trade deadline preview posted later today courtesy of Jen Mac Ramos, but here are some notes on the club’s plans in the meantime:

  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Sunday that the Astros and Blue Jays are "up to something" on the trade front and that Toronto’s scouts were closely watching Houston’s prospects.

    I talked to multiple scouts over the weekend who noted that the Jays are very active in their scouting of the entire league, with one saying that the club has "a million" scouts out there. One source noted that Toronto recently scouted top Astros prospect Francis Martes, though he would seem unlikely to be included in any deal.

    The fit for a deal between the Jays and Astros is unclear at this time, as both clubs are expected to be buyers. One possibility could involve Drew Storen, with the Jays known to be shopping him and the Astros looking for relief help.
  • Multiple sources expect a slow deadline from the Astros, with one noting that the club is not focusing on any specific area despite needs in the rotation and bullpen. Houston is "open to any upgrade," but does not seem to be positing for an aggressive buying spree like last year when they acquired Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers and Scott Kazmir before the deadline.
  • Houston is not expected to make a major upgrade at catcher as of this point, as the tandem of Jason Castro and Evan Gattis is healthy and may be enough. The Astros will at least sniff around the catching market, which is weak after Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy.

    One name I have heard connected to Houston is Padres catcher Derek Norris, who has struggled this year but is still a trade candidate due to San Diego’s willingness to make deals.