After missing on Yoenis Cespedes, Astros rumors say the team is shifting focus onto Edwin Encarnacion.
We knew the Houston Astros were going hard after a ‘big bat’ to add to the lineup. What we didn’t know was that the ‘big bat’ was Yoenis Cespedes. According to Buster Olney, “the Astros were serious bidders for Yoenis Cespedes.” As much as I would have liked to add Cespedes to the Houston lineup, I didn’t see him leaving New York. You also never saw his name in Astros rumors, until now.
About three weeks ago, my Talking Stros co-host Brandon (@Bballlawyer) suggested that Cespedes was the top target for Jeff Luhnow. When I told him the Astros had no chance on him, he justified his belief. He said that he is the top target because he is the best outfielder available. Yulieski Gurriel and A.J. Reed could split time at first, but they have a hole in the outfield. It was suggested that the team might make a hard push for Cespedes, but he would re-sign with the Mets.
Brandon also said the team would then go after the next top free agent, which is Edwin Encarnacion. According to the MLB Network Shredder, Encarnacion is the real deal with his history of success. Olney did suggest that the Astros are still looking for upgrades. Jerry Crasnick also tweeted out that the Astros are still an option for Encarnacion.
If the rumors are true, these are not your old Astros anymore. Instead of sitting back and waiting for prospects to blossom while signing fringe free agents, they are aggressive. They are going after the free agents that they have not sought after in a while. While we don’t need Encarnacion, just imagine the impact that he could have in Houston.
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Carlos Beltran and Mike Napoli are still in the picture, but I think that they will go to one of the teams that misses out on Encarnacion. The Astros have added Brian McCann and Josh Reddick to bat left-handed. Beltran would be the logical fit as a switch hitter on a shorter contract. But imagine Encarnacion and his parrot trotting around MMP after hitting a homer. For this to come true, the Astros must break their MO on long-term deals.
Encarnacion’s agent reported today that he expects his client to sign a deal later this week or next week. The Astros will have to make a big league offer in order to sign the veteran slugger, but I feel like they already have. With little wiggle room in their payroll, it doesn’t look like the Red Sox are an option. It could be down to the Astros, Jays, and the Yankees.
While this is not new talk if you have listened to Talking Stros recently, it’s awesome hearing these Astros rumors. It is encouraging that we were in on Cespedes, but no rest for the weary. I would love to add Encarnacion and Gurriel will need to learn how to play in the outfield. This would block Reed for an everyday role, but maybe another move will be in store.