It appears the Houston Astros have their trade deadline priorities MLB in order.

Minutes after FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal reported the club was “very, very busy” with talks for right-hander Jarred Cosart, CBS Sports Jon Heyman is reporting that they aren’t even taking calls on reliever Chad Qualls.

Chad Qualls would seem to be the perfect trade candidate. He’s a 35-year-old closer for the non-contending Astros.

But Houston continues to tell teams Qualls, who will make $3 million next season in the second year of a two-year deal, is unavailable.

Which actually makes sense.

Though he could certainly help a contending team, Qualls, who’s 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 2014, is a 35-year-old relief pitcher, by definition one of the least valuable assets in baseball. Cosart, meanwhile, is a young starting pitcher with oodles of promise. Cosart should only get better, and could probably help fortify the back end of a rotation today.

So clearly, the Astros stand to gain more by trading Cosart then they do Qualls. And with limited time before this afternoon’s 3 pm trade deadline, it’s smart that they’ve focused all of their energy into getting the most return they can from a trade.

As for whether they should be trading Cosart in the first place, that’s of course debatable.


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