While some of the bigger, more hyped up deals like Jose Bautista and Aroldis Chapman have found their conclusion, there are a few hearty rumors that remain. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Astros remain interested in making a move for a big-time starter and have continued interest in Jose Quintana, Chris Archer, and Sonny Gray.
Thus far, each starter has had a hefty price tag attached to them. The White Sox are asking for hordes of prospects for Quintana, a deal that even the Yankees slinked away from. Chicago reportedly asked Houston for a package of Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker, and Joe Musgrove, which was deemed too high of an ask price. Unless the Astros buckle and literally sell the farm, their chances of getting Quintana are little to none.
If Houston does part with their young guns, they’ll be picking up Quintana’s contract of $37.85M over the next four years.
Even with the king’s ransom ask price for Quintana, Archer is the least likely candidate to land in Houston. Then Rays have had a fairly active offseason, which includes dealing one of their starters, Drew Smyly, to the Mariners. It looks like they’ll be keeping a tight fist on the rest of their rotation.
And then there’s Gray. Hitting a delayed sophomore slump, Gray’s disastrous 2016 vastly overshadowed his ace 2013-2015 seasons. Pitching to a 5.69 ERA and punching not one but two tickets to the DL, it appeared that Gray’s stardom may have been short-lived. However if you consider that most of Gray’s decline was based on his injuries, he could still provide a great deal of pitching support for a team willing to take a risk that his ailments don’t return.
Gray is under Oakland’s control for the next three years, so they could be waiting for the former first-round draft pick to rise again from the ashes instead of dealing him right away.
Can anyone blame the Astros for aiming high? With spring training drawing closer each day, their need to find a front-end starter is growing and it doesn’t pay to just acquire someone for the sake of filling a void. Houston has the potential to snag a new ace—the only catch will be the high ask prices around the league.