Houston Astros targeting specific piece at MLB trade deadline, 3 potential targets

The Houston Astros are the reigning World Series champions, but their place in the MLB standings in June has raised questions about their approach to the trade deadline. With July approaching, recent MLB trade rumors have painted a better picture of what Houston will do.

Entering play on June 18, Houston ranked 17th in runs scored (214), 18th in batting average (.244) and 21st in OBP. While it led the majors in ERA (3.30) and quality starts (35), injuries are beginning to take a toll.

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  • Houston Astros pitching stats (June): 3.47 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 1.38 WHIP

With both Lance McCullers Jr and Luis Garcia out for the season, the Astros are eventually expected to explore the trade market for starting pitching. For now, Houston’s front office appears focused on adding one specific thing.

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According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Astros are focused on acquiring left-handed bats this summer. It’s long been an area where the organization believes the team is weak, with the need even more pressing after the Yordan Alvarez injury.

While deals typically aren’t made this early in the season, Houston is exploring its trade options. Fortunately for the defending champions, there are expected to be a variety of choices available.

Identifying 3 potential Houston Astros trade targets

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While the Astros could target a specific position, general manager Dana Brown made it clear this month that a versatile left-handed bat is more important. Specifically, Houston wants to find someone who can play multiple outfield spots or even cover them at first base.

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For now, the Astros are hoping Jose Abreu is turning things around. After struggling in the first two months of the season, Abreu now holds a .300/.328/.517 slash line in 60 at-bats this month. Even if Abreu’s turnaround holds, though, Houston wants more left-handed bats.

  • Cody Bellinger – Bellinger has been one of the best left-handed hitters in baseball this season when healthy. Through 170 plate appearances, he held a 118 wRC+ with a .487 SLG, 21 RBI, nine steals, seven home runs and a .822 OPS. Holding a mutual option for the 2024 season, Bellinger is likely going to be acquired as a rental. Based on his left-handed power and his ability to play all three outfield spots or first base, he could be a top trade target for the Houston Astros.
  • Corey Dickerson – If it’s determined that Bellinger is too expensive, Washington Nationals outfielder Corey Dickerson could be a low-cost target for the Houston Astros. In his age-34 season, Dickerson carries a respectable 100 wRC+ and .273/.319/.424 slash line in 23 games. Seeing a majority of his playing time against righties, Dickerson would be a platoon bat in Houston.
  • Seth Brown – Oakland Athletics first baseman Seth Brown hasn’t been as productive this season (79 wRC+, .627 OPS) as he was in 2022. However, there are reasons to think he can turn things around. From 2021-’22, Brown posted a 112 wRC+ with a .457 SLG, 46 home runs and 121 RBI. Capable of playing first base or either corner outfield spot, Brown’s success against right-handed pitching could make him another bargain option for the Houston Astros.
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