Ahead of the Tuesday MLB trade deadline, the Houston Astros are indeed interested in Washington Nationals 1B Josh Bell, multiple sources tell KPRC 2.
One source says “It’s pretty obvious what the Astros needs are.” That is - first base, center field, catcher.
However, another league source says the Astros may be comfortable sticking with Martin Maldonado at primary catcher as long as they get a big bat at first base. Based on the chatter surrounding Bell, and the Astros interest in Marlins 1B Garrett Cooper, it seems first base is of higher priority than catcher.
The Astros also have a need in center field, as the trio of Jake Meyers, Chas McCormick and Jose Siri have failed to produce consistently in 2022. Although McCormick may potentially have the most value to outside teams based on his positional versatility, Siri may be the odd man out. The Dominican sparkplug is extremely toolsy, but currently in Sugar Land after struggling to hit at the big league level in 2022, despite his elite defense.
A league source tells me before Siri signed with the Astros, the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and Miami Marlins had interest, but the Mets don’t have a need for center field and are a strong buyer, the Angels are a seller, but also don’t have a need at that position and the Rangers only have one player that really fits in a deal with the Astros (left-handed reliever Matt Moore). The Marlins could potentially be a fit, as they are the only team with a center field need who had 2021 interest in Siri, meanwhile, the other teams who do have a center field need (Nationals, Rays, and Brewers mainly) were not heavily interested in Siri in 2021, when he was a free agent. Siri provides very interesting value to two types of teams - contenders, and bad teams. On a contender like the Astros, his late-inning elite defense and top-end speed can change playoff games, given opportunity. On a bad team, the streaky Siri will get regular playing time that he wouldn’t see with Houston.