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Debate: Do the Astros need to trade for Verlander?


Following the July 31 trade deadline, the Houston Astros have gone 2-7 and are fresh off of a three-game sweep at the hands of the league-worst Chicago White Sox in heart-breaking, walk-off fashion.

Immediately following the deadline, staff ace Dallas Keuchel called the front office's actions - or lack thereof - a "disappointment." Outfielder Josh Reddick jumped in Thursday night to say the quiet deadline left the clubhouse feeling "down in the dumps."

Meanwhile, Justin Verlander, who the Astros reportedly inquired the Detroit Tigers about earlier this week, is coming off of his best outing of the season - throwing an eight-inning, one-hit gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates. But do the Astros need him?

theScore's Jonathan Soveta and Michael Bradburn debate whether Houston should land the former Cy Young and MVP winner.

Yes, do it yesterday

Here's the thing about Verlander: The Astros could have, and should have, done much better when they had the chance in July, when both Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray were available. Instead, they went out and traded for ... Francisco Liriano? The same Liriano who was sporting a 5.88 ERA in 18 starts with the Toronto Blue Jays. On top of that, the Astros are using him in relief, where he's yet to last a full inning in three appearances. When you have a club with World Series aspirations on pace to eclipse the franchise's win record, Francisco Liriano is not the solution.

Is Verlander? He absolutely could be. Right now, the Astros' rotation is relying on ace Dallas Keuchel and sometimes-reliever, sometimes-starter Brad Peacock. Lance McCullers Jr. has struggled with back injuries this season, and it's unclear what to expect from Collin McHugh after he missed the first four months of the season. Verlander isn't having his greatest year (he's worth just 2.4 WAR with a 4.07 FIP in 2017) and he's owed a guaranteed $56 million after this season, but the 34-year-old is still a former Cy Young winner with extensive postseason history, something of which the Astros don't have.

If the Astros hope to make it to the Fall Classic, where they'll likely meet the unstoppable Dodgers and Darvish, landing Verlander will only help boost their chances at finally winning their first World Series. - Soveta

No, he's not even that good

The Astros dropping three straight games to the White Sox - who are giving regular at-bats to something called Kevan Smith - doesn't scream confidence. However, boasting a 13-game lead over the rest of the AL West does.

What does the acquisition of Verlander get a team that has a double-digit lead on their division? According to FanGraphs, the Astros have a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs and have a 16.3 percent chance of winning the World Series - better than any other team in the majors not named the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Adding an innings-eater like Verlander would be advantageous to the Astros, sure. It would give extra opportunities to rest pitchers as well - guys that might need to be relied upon heavily in a deep postseason run. However, almost nothing about their World Series odds ride on the back of acquiring 50 or so innings from Verlander.

The best team doesn't always win in October, and the Astros have built a current roster to guarantee at least playing in the postseason and to stay competitive for years to come. Why hamper that by acquiring a pitcher that would start behind both Keuchel and McCullers in any must-win games? - Bradburn

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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