There is no doubt about it, the Houston Astros are looking like a good bet to repeat as World Series Champions. A trade with the Washington Nationals for Bryce Harper could make the rich even richer.
While Tucker has all the tools to succeed in the long-term, he’s hitting a miserable .154 through 14 games. So acquiring a rental to give their youngster more time to develop makes a lot of sense.
In general, Astros GM Jeff Lunhow hasn’t gone out and acquired rentals. When he has made a move and dealt his big prospects, it’s been to get guys with over a year left of control. But he also hasn’t had the chance to acquire a player of Harper’s standard either.
To make Lunhow feel more comfortable, the Nationals may have to add in someone like Justin Miller. Miller came out of the blocks on fire without giving up an earned run in eight straight appearances. He’s cooled off a little, but would still be a great asset to the Houston bullpen, while having him under team control through the 2021 season.
That Nats would likely have a tough time getting the Astros to part with their number three prospect Yordan Alvarez. So here, we’re looking at a similar deal to the Manny Machado trade, where quantity makes up for no high-end prospect.
Freudis Nova was one of the better all-around talents in the 2016 international signing market. Now he’s getting his feet wet for the Gulf Coast League Astros, and having success by leading the team in average, home runs and RBIs.
They could also pluck Wilyer Abreu from the GCL Astros. He’s looking like the second best player on the team behind Nova. The Venezuelan born outfielder so far is hitting .289 with a team-leading 14 RBI and also has 12 walks to 16 strikeouts.
Then the Astros could include a couple of pitchers from the upper levels in Rogelio Armenteros and Trent Thornton. Armenteros has a 7-1 record and a 3.99 ERA with the Fresno Grizzlies while striking out batters at a 9.72 K/9 clip.
Thornton has a deceptive delivery and all the stuff to make it as a mid-rotation type starter. Also with the Grizzlies, he’s compiled a 7-7 record, 3.91 ERA, and a 9.2 K/9, and the worst case scenario would be to work out as a reliever with dominant upside.
So the Nationals would be getting four mid-tier prospects to bolster the farm system’s depth. They would also likely capitalize on the peak of Miller’s value and net a nice return from that. The full trade is shown below.