The Houston Astros are dealing with some problems in terms of public perception due to their failure to sign no. 1 overall draft pick Brady Aiken.
That isn’t going anywhere, but the team could at least throw up some distractions this month with deals between now and the trade deadline. And goodness knows that they wouldn’t mind adding some prospects to their system after the 2014 draft blew up in their face.
A couple of mid-level type trades for relief pitchers will not move the needle a lot, but they are still arguably necessary moves for the Astros to make with the trade deadline approaching.
Qualls has resurrected his career and is now someone teams are asking about, according to a major league source. Also drawing interest is Houston lefthander Tony Sipp, whose career has been helter-skelter but his good times have been very good.
The veteran Qualls has been stellar this season: in 37 appearances he has a 1.89 ERA, 10 saves, and an 8.1 K/9 mark. As for Sipp, he has a 2.67 ERA in 29 appearances.
As Cafardo notes, Sipp has battled some inconsistency in his career, but not so in 2014 thus far. In addition to his solid ERA he is striking out hitters at a 12.7 K/9 clip. Because he does so as a left-handed reliever, he might yield a slightly larger return than Qualls.
There are many relievers available, something that might affect the potential return for the Astros in trades for either guy. Even with that being the case, they might be wise to get something in return for Qualls and Sipp to continue acquiring assets in a rebuilding plan that appears to have been set back in recent days.