The Houston Astros have started their 2017 Major League Baseball regular season strong with a record of 20-10 after 30 games and a 5 ½-game lead in the American League West.
However, Houston knows it needs some more top line pitching and is in the market for a big name starter who can become second in line to ace Dallas Keuchel, the former Cy Young Award winner who has seen a resurgence in his game this season.
Houston would like to add the best possible starter if can find with Jose Quintana the ace for the Chicago White Sox at the top of its list.
With its impressive start to the season, Houston has improved its odds of reaching the postseason. Despite only having played 30 of its 162 regular season games, the Astros front office is already looking for players to add to its possible playoff roster.
Since the American League playoffs could go through Cleveland or Boston, two teams with imposing rotations on the mound, the Astros know they need to find pitchers that can shut down opponents especially when the playoffs roll around.
At present, the Astros have Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers if the playoffs started today.
Quintana would be a good fit for Houston and rumors have swirled around since last season about the southpaw being traded to the Astros.
If Quintana cannot be acquired, the trade deadline list of possibilities appears impressive. Yu Darvish could be a top arm if the Texas Rangers continue to struggle since he will be a free agent at the end of the regular season.
However, since he is with an AL West rival, the changes are less he would be traded to Houston.
In the NL West, San Francisco is off to a poor start and Madison Bumgarner has been injured, which means the team could be ready to re-build come the trade deadline in July.
If that is the case, Johnny Cueto could be on the block due to the opt-out clause he has in his contract.
Danny Duffy, a breakout starter for Kansas City in 2016 might become available during trade deadline time if the Royals are not in the playoff hunt. The southpaw has a contract through 2021 and could be just what the Astros are looking for.
With the season only 30 games old, the Astros have plenty of time to find the best possible deal to add to their starting rotation, as long as they can continue to receive strong outings from their current fourth and fifth starters.