Houston Astros: One way the Astros can beat the Kansas City Royals next time


Sign Alex Gordon this offseason.

The Houston Astros were eliminated by the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 playoffs in the ALDS, despite being up on the Royals two games to one in a possible elimination in game four at Minute Maid Park. The Astros were up 6-2 in game four over the Royals after seven innings; without reliving it, they lost that game. The Royals went on to win Game 5 to play the Blue Jays. According to Jon Morosi: “If the Royals win Series in 5 or 6, the Houston Astros will hold distinction of being team that came closest to eliminating KC.”

While that doesn’t make Astros fans feel any better, it is a good sign of the Astros’ talent. As I wrote earlier, the Astros were more evenly matched with the Royals than the outcome of the ALDS shows. The Royals had the better bullpen and ability to make contact when needed. Both teams have a good nucleus of players who are still young and will be around for a while. The Astros and Royals should meet again in the playoffs shortly, so what can the Astros do to come out the victor next time around?

One way the Astros can get better is to steal players away from the Royals. Two such players could be Johnny Cueto and Alex Gordon. I think Cueto is a pipe dream, but Gordon is a reasonable option for Jeff Luhnow. I got this idea from Jon Heyman via Baseball Trade Rumors, where he suggested that Royals could reward him with a four-year deal, but the Astros or several other teams could offer a fifth season to top the Royals offer. Gordon is 31-years-old, so he knows that he is getting older, so getting the extra year guaranteed might be a great idea. He has a player option for the 2016 season, but could be looking to add years onto his contract with postseason success.

Some consider Gordon as the top left fielder in the game, so pairing him up with George Springer and Carlos Gomez would give the Astros and elite outfield combination. Why add Gordon when the Astros have Preston Tucker, Jake Marisnick, and Jon Kemmer or another baby Astros’ prospect to play left? If the Astros sign Gordon for the money they would have to pay to re-sign Colby Rasmus, that would be a great trade-off. Gordon offers something that Rasmus and other Astros can’t, a low strikeout rate and high on-base percentage with a high contact rate.

While Gordon doesn’t have a single standout offensive ability, he is a jack of all trades in every category. He has some power, speed, and ability to make contact. With injuries and fewer demands for him to steal deep in the lineup, Gordon was limited to two stolen bases in the season. Let’s take a look at some of Gordon’s 2015 stats via Baseball-Reference.

Gordon slash line: .271/ .377/ .432/ .809 with 13 homers and 48 runs batted in.

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Add Gordon to the feast or famine lineup of your Houston Astros, and he will make contact in those big situations that contact is needed with only striking out 92 times in 2015. Gordon’s 2015 WAR was the same as Colby Rasmus’ 2.8 with the Astros, however, he did miss an extended amount of time with injury only playing 104 games. For the most part, he has consistently played 150 + games in four of the past five years according to Baseball-Reference.

In 2015, Gordon made $12.5 million in his final year of his contract. He has a player option for the 2016 season for $12.5 million, so look for Gordon to re-sign with the Royals who he could think has the players for continued success in the playoffs in the near future. However, if a team were able to add an extra year and maybe a five-year $75 – $80 million dollar contract, he could take his talents away from the hotbed of talent which is Kansas City.

The Royals are still in the midst of possibly taking the World Series in Game 5 tonight, until then, all we can do is speculate what the Astros will do. How do you solve a team unable to make contact in key RBI situations? Adding a contact player like Gordon and uber-prospect A.J. Reed wouldn’t hurt. The Astros will have to find a way to find a new home for Chris Carter.

Next: Houston Astros 2015 Season Recap: Vince Velasquez

Gordon is one of those dynamic players who can help you with every aspect of the game, the only question is, how would he like Club Astros?