Houston still reportedly seeks a high-end starter to pair with Dallas Keuchel atop their rotation, with White Sox lefty Jose Quintana their most rumored target. They're also in the mix for Athletics righty Sonny Gray.
The 'Stros and A's are AL West division rivals, but that hasn't stood in the way of trades before. They've hooked up for several deals in recent years, including a pair of Jed Lowrie swaps (2013, 2015), the Scott Kazmir trade (2015), and the Chris Carter trade (2013).
Gray has been mentioned as a trade candidate all offseason because, well, the A's have a history of trading their star players once they begin to get expensive. Gray is three seasons away from free agency and he recently signed a one-year deal worth $3.575 million for the 2017 season, which is affordable for any team.
That said, Gray had a rough season last year, pitching to a 5.69 ERA (70 ERA+) in 117 innings while dealing with nagging injuries. Understandably, the A's don't want to sell low. And also understandably, the Astros (and surely other teams) want to get Gray while his price is down because they anticipate a rebound.
Just a year ago Gray finished third in the AL Cy Young voting after throwing 208 innings with a 2.73 ERA (143 ERA+). Personally, I'm pretty confident Gray will be effective as long as he's healthy. But will he be healthy? The A's are hoping so, if only because they'll be able to trade him for a bigger package down the line.