Houston Astros: Jose Urquidy, RHP
The Houston Astros have one of the best rotations in baseball, and Jose Urquidy is on its periphery. The 28-year-old had a career-worst 5.29 ERA in 2023, but the numbers under the surface weren't all bad, as despite a career-high walk rate, which was expected given his change in strategy this season, he had a chase rate in the 90th percentile. He also allowed an average exit velocity of only 86.6 mph, which was in the 91st percentile.
Urquidy missed some time with a shoulder strain and lost his starting job for the Astros late in the season, but if he were to bring his deceptive stuff to the Gateway City, he could find a spot in the rotation. Urquidy's changeup has been his top pitch for most of his career, and that continued in 2023, as opponents hit only .172 off of it.
Houston is set at nearly every position, but they could be looking to upgrade center field. where Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers and Mauricio Dubon are projected to battle for a spot. The Cardinals could consider dealing Tommy Edman, who has adapted well to that spot in the outfield, for Urquidy, who isn't eligible for free agency until 2026.
Kansas City Royals: Brady Singer, RHP
The young pitching crop of the Kansas City Royals hasn't panned out as hoped, as Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch and Asa Lacy, among others, haven't done much in the major leagues. The best of the bunch from the 2018-2020 drafts has been Brady Singer, who was solid in 2022 but backslid significantly in 2023 to the tune of a 5.52 ERA. His FIP was more promising, though, at 4.29.
Singer won't be a free agent until 2027, but unless the Royals think they can be competitive at that time, Singer might be useful as a trade chip for prospects who would project to come up within Kansas City's next window of contention. Singer had a strong 50.6% ground ball rate in 2023, although many of his other stats, such as a 48.1% hard-hit rate, were less encouraging.
If the Royals wanted to trade Singer, they would be selling low after his subpar season, but the Cardinals could be willing to part with a minor league player who could ostensibly help the Royals in the future.