Scott Boras (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
It is tough to get through these months without Astros’ baseball.
At least in October we have other team’s playoff battles to live through, but the months without baseball are brutal at times. Spring training starts in February, so there are really just three months to get through (November, December, and January).
For that, we have the Hot Stove league. There are rumors to follow, debate, and discuss. Planning out next year’s team is always enjoyable. But for that to happen, we need to have rumors. And so far that has not happened. Player movement also has been at a extreme minimum.
Ultimately it does not matter when the moves take place, as we know they will happen by Spring Training. But why has this offseason gotten off to such a slow start?
First of all, the quality of the available free agents is quite frankly not exceptional. With the non-tender deadline coming up next month, it is likely that there will be an influx of talent to the market.
With the recent trend of team’s locking up their key free agents, teams are relying less and less on the free agent market. Prospects also have become more valued, which means that the chances of them being dealt are less likely. There will likely be a few big trades this offseason, but they just will take a while to develop.
What will even take longer to happen, is the biggest free agents signing their contracts.
Robinson Cano wants an inordinate sum of money which the market might not support. The New York Yankees do not want to overpay for him, and all parties seem alright with waiting until January for Cano to sign.
In all likelihood the Astros will not be signing any of these players, so ultimately it does not matter. The issue though, is that the market will not be fully set until Cano, Ellsbury, and Choo are signed.
For that reason, I will try to reserve judgement on the Astros offseason until Spring Training begins. I know it is hard to have patience here as we are waiting to see if Jim Crane will actually spend the money he says he will, but it is necessary.