The Houston Astros might be trying to build an offense that rivals the 2016 Red Sox offense. If so, don’t expect an ‘ace.’
Ladies and gentlemen of Astros Nation, Jeff Luhnow, is not done adding. He could be trying to build a lineup that will make opposing pitchers tremble the night before they pitch. The Stros core of young stars in George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa is already intimidating. With the two recent additions, the Stros could have one of their most balanced lineups in a while.
Last year, the Stros added Yulieski Gurriel and Evan Gattis became the offensive force that he was expected to be. They have already added Brian McCann (trade) and Josh Reddick (free agency), two left-handed bats in a mostly righty lineup. Read my lips. The Astros are looking to add one more bat. Evan Drellich has written that the Astros are still in on Carlos Beltran even after adding McCann and Reddick.
Ken Rosenthal has echoed the statement saying that they can get enough bats to go around if they add Beltran. Jake Kaplan has consistently stated that they will not go after a big starting pitcher. If acquiring Chris Sale or Chris Archer means giving up Bregman, the Astros are not willing right now. I think the Astros are comfortable with the rotation for now but have the resources to acquire one at the trade deadline.
Need an offensive powerhouse.
If the Astros are not going to bring in an ace, they better build an offense that can keep the team in games. I am talking about an offense similar to what the Boston Red Sox had in 2016. Last year, the Red Sox batted .282 with 208 homers, 2615 total bases, and scoring 878 runs. Maybe even challenge the Baltimore Orioles, who lead the MLB with 253 homers. The Red Sox made a 22 game winner out of Rick Porcello, who won the AL Cy Young in 2016.
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They are looking for one more big bat, which could mean that they are still waiting for Edwin Encarnacion‘s decision. The big bats will most likely wait until the CBA is finalized and the high salary teams’ know what the luxury tax threshold is. Luhnow could be targeting a big bat but will go back to Plan B if needed, the 39-year-old Beltran.
Return of Grandpa Beltran.
But why would Beltran want to come to Houston after a decade plus of booing him? I think most Houston fans have gotten over the whole ‘Bootran.’ The Astros might be one of the few teams willing to give him at least a two-year deal. If he returns to Houston to finish his career, he will undo the wrongs from 2005. Maybe the Stros will call him Grandpa Beltran.
Beltran is a leader, like McCann, who could help this young team become more consistent offensively. Last season, Beltran batted .293 with 29 homers and 93 RBIs. His days of a .900 +OPS are over, but he did have a .850 OPS in 2016. He was an All-Star in 2016 and could add to an already potent Stros offense. The days of Colby Rasmus and Luis Valbuena days are over, welcome to the new Crush City!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***