It was reported Friday afternoon that the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros have been discussing a potential deal. The Astros are in need of pitching and the report by Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune mentions Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross as possible trade targets for the Astros.
It is no secret that the Padres are close to making some moves. Both Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner would be in high demand if the Padres choose to move them. The Houston Astros are looking for a right-handed compliment to Dallas Keuchel who has emerged, and even made the All-Star game for the National League. Keuchel is a solid pitcher, but the team lacks another quality starter in their rotation.
The two teams could easily agree to a deal but the Padres would need to throw in the towel on the season before anything could really happen. The Houston Astros are not in any position to give Major League talent in return to the Padres. The Astros do however have multiple young player in their minor leagues that would be a great fit for the San Diego Padres, who are trying to rebuild their farm system.
First off there is Brett Phillips who we at East Village Times already covered in a piece titled Potential Prospect Trade Targets. Phillips is a fleet-footed center fielder who is starting to blossom in the Astros minor league system. The 21-year old outfielder is blessed with many tools and is starting to develop rather quickly. He was recently promoted to Double-A where he is hitting .282 in 19 games with the Corpus Christi Hooks. Overall this season in 85 total games Phillips is hitting .312 with 15 home runs and 63 RBI’s. He also has 13 stolen bases and an on base percentage of .371.
Phillips could be very useful for the Padres. He has enough speed to transition well in the Major Leagues at center field. Phillips has a great arm, and that might be his best tool. The left-handed hitter is still a full season away from even sniffing any playing time in the Major Leagues though. He is a great young talent, but is not going to contribute any time in the near future.
A talent that could help the Padres now is young second baseman/outfielder Tony Kemp. The 23-year-old left-handed hitter is currently in Triple-A and could be a September call up for the Astros. The most obvious characteristic about Kemp is the fact he is 5 foot 6 inches tall. From the team that gives you Jose Altuve, they bring you Tony Kemp. Like Altuve, Kemp has a knack for getting on base and has shown an excellent eye at the plate.
Kemp was promoted to Triple-A Fresno in early June and has performed very well there. Hitting .293 with two home runs in 32 games. His total minor league numbers are very impressive this season. Kemp is hitting .331 in 82 total games with two home runs and 34 RBI’s . He has stolen 25 bases so far and has an OBP of .412. His most impressive stats are that in 326 at bats Kemp has 43 walks and 42 strike outs. More walks than strikeouts speaks volumes to his eye at the plate. An adequate bunter, Kemp has the ability to hit in the top of the order for a Major League team soon.
The third prospect who is to be of top interest to the Padres is slugging first baseman A.J. Reed. The mammoth sized first baseman is smoking the ball in Double-A Corpus Christi. Of the three prospects mentioned thus far, he would probably be deemed the most untouchable by the Astros. Reed is 22 and was the 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner out of the University of Kentucky. He led the country with 23 home runs and was also an incredible 12-2 on the mound with a 2.09 ERA.
He starting the season in high A ball but was promoted after hitting .346 with 23 home runs and 81 RBI’s in 318 at bats. He also managed a .449 OBP and a .638 slugging percentage. Reed was promoted to Double-A just before the All-Star break. He is hitting .267 in four games there so far. The Astros are in need of a first baseman and now that they are an American League team, a big DH with Reed’s ability is valuable.
Besides these three prospects the Astros have Mark Appel who could interest the Padres. The former 2013 MLB draft first overall pick has not pitched well in the Astros minor league system so far. He could be attained, but the price tag could be pricey being that he has such a high upside. The 24-year-old is currently in Triple-A and has an overall record this year of 6-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Appel has a fantastic fastball but just hasn’t been able to harness his delivery so far as a professional.
The names Vincent Velasquez and Colin Moran could also be of interest to the Padres. Velasquez is a highly touted pitching prospect for the Astros who at the age of 23 made his Major League debut this season. He has made six starts for the Astros and is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He has struck out 31 batters and walked 14 in 32 total innings. Velasquez was shipped back to Double-A before the All-Star break but is expected to be recalled early next week to continue his quest for his first Major League win.
Colin Moran is a 22-year-old third baseman currently in Double-A for the Astros. He is the nephew of former Major Leaguer B.J. Surhoff and his brother Brian Moran also played professionally. He has a great baseball sense about him that you’d expect from someone who has grown up around the game. Moran is described as a pure hitter with an advanced approach at the plate. In 51 games this season he is hitting .277 with one homer and 36 RBI’s in 191 at bats. A nice young player who could develop with a little more time in the minor leagues.
There are plenty of talented players in the Astros minor league system. They would be an excellent addition for the Padres, but any prospect they have to trade would not be Major League ready. Tony Kemp and Vincent Velasquez are the two who are probably ready now to contribute. Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Joaquin Benoit, Ian Kennedy, Shawn Kelley and Yonder Alonso would all interest the Astros. The question is can they package enough prospects to get a deal done?
The Padres would have to be in a selling mode and that is probably why it is reported the two teams haven’t been in contact since earlier this month. The Padres are teetering on the fence and do not know which side they are going to fall on. The team looked dead in the water and ready to sell, but after winning three straight a sense of calmness has come over the team. They need to win and have a major winning streak to get back into the race. It is possible, not likely, but still very possible.
If the team decides to sell, the Houston Astros would be a suitable trade partner. The Astros are likely rooting against the Padres, because the Padres could be a one stop shop to fix all their needs.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.