Houston Astros Could Target All-Star First Baseman as 'Realistic Fallback'

Keep an eye out for the Houston Astros making a move to acquire a former All-Star first baseman at the trade deadline.
May 28, 2024; San Diego, California, USA;  Miami Marlins first baseman Josh Bell (9) watches a ball fly deep out of bounds in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park
May 28, 2024; San Diego, California, USA; Miami Marlins first baseman Josh Bell (9) watches a ball fly deep out of bounds in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park / David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports
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There are many questions the Houston Astros have to answer before they decide what they're going to do around the trade deadline on July 30.

General manager Dana Brown seems determined to not be a selling team, and even went so far to say they will be buyers, but with their record sitting at 31-38 following their series loss against the San Francisco Giants, they are certainly not looking like a contender.

How they are playing right now puts the Astros in a predicament.

Because they have championship pedigree and a roster full of stars, there is always going to be hope they can turn things around and get into the playoffs where anything can happen. On the other hand, they have some contracts coming off the books soon, Alex Bregman being the immediate one, so long-term plans for this franchise have to be taken into account.

If they continue to falter, Houston could look to move some pieces.

However, Brown has made it clear they have no intention on doing that.

So, if they are going to make some upgrades to push this team into the playoffs, then there are certain positions they will be targeting around the deadline.

The obvious one is pitching with the season-ending injuries to Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy, but the other main need is at first base.

Jose Abreu has not rebounded from his nearly month-long stint in Florida to get his swing back on track as he's still only slashing .127/.171/.200. He has hit two homers this month, but it's hard to trust he can find his past form.

Houston has been linked to some of the bigger names who could become available like Pete Alonso and Paul Goldschmidt, but with those players likely costing a high-price to acquire, even as rentals, the Astros could turn their attention elsewhere.

Tim Kelly of Bleacher Report thinks they could give the Miami Marlins a call for Josh Bell as they are likely going to be sellers at the deadline sitting with one of the worst records in baseball.

"Bell of the Marlins—who seems to be traded every summer—might be a more realistic fallback."

That really wouldn't be a bad option for Houston.

The 2019 All-Star has a career OPS+ of 116 and has had three straight years with an OPS+ figure above the league average. Despite his down season where he's slashing .246/.317/.385, he provides versatility at the plate as a switch hitter.

Bell will become a free agent after the year and shouldn't cost the Astros a ton to acquire like the other options who could become available.

Keep an eye out for this move potentially coming down the pipeline if Abreu continues to struggle.


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Brad Wakai

BRAD WAKAI

Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently covers the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation. He is also the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai