MLB Trade Deadline Rumors: Astros checking in on Giants' Samardzija?

The Astros have a mammoth lead in the AL West, but that doesn't mean they'll sit out the forthcoming non-waiver trade deadline. Specifically, Houston wants to reinforce a rotation that's been hit by injuries to Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel. As well, Lance McCullers has never thrown more than 125 2/3 innings in a major-league season, so he could probably use some extra rest down the stretch. 

The Astros have long been known to have interest in Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray, and now, per Jon Morosi, you can add another Bay Area hurler to the list ... 

Jeff Samardzija of the Giants is in the second year of a five-year, $90 million deal with the Giants, so he'd be a long-term investment for Houston. Also, since being traded to the White Sox prior to the 2015 season, Samardzija has pitched to a 90 ERA+. That's not impressive to be sure, but the Astros may be seeing the big jump in terms of command and control (Samardzija this season leads the majors with a K/BB ratio of 9.07) in addition to the impressive stuff that he's always had. Also, given that Samardzija is owed so much money, the Astros would likely be able to acquire him without parting with too much in the way of long-term assets. 

Samardzija is not an ace, but this could be a depth play by the Astros designed to lighten the workload on their front-line guys. In other words, it would be an eye toward keeping the front of the rotation in fighting shape heading toward the postseason. 

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