Looking Ahead for the Houston Astros
The Houston Astros were reported to be “Hell-Bent” on acquiring a closer earlier in the offseason. Now that they got their closer in Ken Giles, where do the Astros go from here? The Astros also added the top left-handed reliever in Tony Sipp. I think that they go out and get a fifth starter, but that does not mean they go out and get a top remaining free-agent.
What is Jeff Luhnow looking to do now? We will take a look at what his outlook is from a quote from Evan Drellich’s article: With Ken Giles locked up, Astros now searching for a starter or bat. “I think we’re going to look at either bringing in another pitcher for the rotation or a bat of some sort,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said Saturday. “We’re going to be creative and think through different options and see where we end up but our work’s not done.”
The top four in the rotation appear to be set with Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers Jr, and Mike Fiers. The Astros traded several candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation in Vincent Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, and Mark Appel. The favorite of that group was probably Velasquez, but they are no longer an option for the rotation. Who is left for the fifth spot in the rotation?
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While he is not the most attractive option, Scott Feldman and his $8 million dollar contract might give him the inside edge, but he could be set back by injuries. Former top prospect Dan Straily is still on the 40-man roster, so is Brad Peacock following an injury-plagued season. Some prospects who pitched at Triple-A in 2015 are Asher Wojciechowski, Brady Rodgers, and Chris Devenski could impress in spring training. Michael Feliz is another option, but the Astros seem to think he might be better suited for the bullpen.
Drellich mentioned Scott Kazmir and Yovani Gallardo as possible options, these are two players that CTH has already featured this season. We have also discussed Doug Fister and Wei-Yin Chen. You can read these pieces below.
However, the fifth starter could be also solved through trades. The names Tyson Ross, Drew Smyly, and Carlos Carrasco have been mentioned linked to the Astros this offseason. The perfect starter would make this rotation deep and could lead to success.
The Astros seem content to roll with Luis Valbuena at third base, for now, and Luhnow and Hinch have both said that first base is Jon Singleton‘s to lose. The next mega-prospect is A.J. Reed, who should take over first base pretty soon after leading the minor leagues in homers in 2015. Unless they add a player like Justin Morneau or Chris Davis, I see them patching together options from within until Reed is ready, including rising prospect Tyler White.
If the Astros break their mold and surprise and go after Chris Davis type, then Evan Gattis can be made available when Reed is ready. However, overall, I see the Astros solving first base from within, I do see them getting a pitcher from outside the organization. They now have a top bullpen on paper.