Encarnacion won’t choose Houston. Right?
There are many teams out there who could offer more than the Astros beyond money. The Astros had several contracts come off the books, so they have money to spend. Jeff Luhnow has said that Jim Crane has given him the go-ahead to increase the payroll this year but didn’t say by how much.
Will the Astros put their money where their mouths are this offseason? This team has the foundation of a team that can win, but they can’t do that with temporary band-aids signings. The team could use a top of the rotation starting pitcher. There are not many among pitchers in the free agent market. Picture what it would be like to have Encarnacion in Houston orange!
Why can’t we as fans want for our favorite team to get one of the best free agents on the market? The Astros have a lineup that lacks a consistent hitter besides Jose Altuve, who should be leading off. If we add a hitter like Encarnacion to the lineup, it will make the lineup up deeper to lead to more offense.
Jeremy Booth on Talking Stros has said all season that George Springer is more suited as the fifth hitter in the lineup. Imagine this lineup, if Encarnacion somehow lands in Houston.
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Altuve – 2b
Alex Bregman – 3d
Carlos Correa -ss
Springer – rf
Yulieski Gurriel – lf
A.J. Reed – Dh
Evan Gattis– c/dh
Teoscar Hernandez – cf
The outfield is up in the air, and it is unknown if Gurriel could play left field full time. The Astros could add an outfielder this offseason, but I don’t see it if they add Encarnacion. While Springer was a spark plug batting leadoff, he did score over 100 runs in 2016. His tools could be better suited as a RBI guy. I know what you are thinking, that is an extreme right-handed hitting lineup.
Imagine adding a player to the lineup who hit 42 homers and drove in 127 runs. That would instantly make the Astros one of the most powerful teams in baseball. To make this happen, Crane will have to open the pocketbook and lure Encarnacion away from the AL East.
Maybe Encarnacion will see that in will be too hard to win in the AL East, so he will bring his talents to the AL West. No, I don’t want him to sign with the Rangers. He could be a game changer for the Astros, but will they even be given a chance to discuss a contract with him. If they do, will the Astros change the way they have approached free agency recently?