In addition to Langosch's speculation to that effect on Friday , we also have a piece along similar lines from Brian McTaggart, the Astros ' writer for MLB.com. After discussing internal options for Houston, McTaggart brings up three external options whom he sees as the Astros' best chance: free agent Bengie Molina , Doumit, and Phillies backup Brian Schneider . The Astros are operating under some significant financial limitations at this point, and their farm system is one of the weakest in baseball . Both factors would complicate any possible deal for Doumit.
One possible workaround that occurs to me would involve the Pirates not only covering part of Doumit's salary but also taking back a useful, moderately-priced veteran at a position of lesser need for the Astros (along with the expected prospect(s), of course). The most likely candidate on their roster would seem to be former Bucs prospect Jeff Keppinger . Shedding Keppinger's one-year deal for $2.3M would give the Astros a little more financial breathing room, and with Hall at second, Barmes at short, and Manzella as a utility infielder, they could probably make do without him. There were reports over the offseason that the Astros were considering trading Keppinger at that time, which suggests that they may see him as expendable. Keppinger, meanwhile, is a quality infield reserve (2011 ZiPS: .281/.335/.384 in Houston) who could be kept to improve our bench or re-flipped in a separate deal, either later this spring or at the deadline.
Given Snyder's past medical issues, I think that there's significant value for our team in retaining Doumit this year, and I wouldn't shove him out the door simply for the sake of making a trade. Nevertheless, we would be remiss if we didn't at least consider possible deals with a team in Houston's position.
Update: As was noted in the comments, Keppinger's offseason foot surgery will likely keep him out through mid-May. That's obviously an obstacle, though not necessarily an insurmountable one, depending on who else accompanies him in the trade. He's expected to suffer no long-term effects from the procedure, and there will still be a lot of season left at that point.