Astros are in terrific shape heading into the offseason

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Josh Reddick
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Josh Reddick /

The baseball offseason may not be much of a “Hot Stove” for the Astros.

Barring a completely unexpected event, the Astros enter the offseason in terrific shape. They are, after all, the defending World Series champions. And the team’s future is bright.

So bright.

On a side note, I may need sunglasses and UV 50 sunscreen before I finish typing this post.

Not to brag, but the Astros should be the envy of Major League Baseball. Not only did their dramatic, and controversial, rebuild work, they also have a loaded team for at least the next couple of seasons. While it would be utterly foolish to predict another World Series appearance, much less title, next season, the Astros should feel good about their chances.

Once again, so flippin’ bright.

So, on the surface, there aren’t many areas that the Astros have to improve between now and the 2018 season Opening Day. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t improve on areas that may need a touch of fine tuning.

For example, the bullpen. Specifically, a left-handed reliever. Tony Sipp and Francisco Liriano provided outings, sometimes there were quality ones. Most of the time, though, there were poor quality ones. Or at least outings that were on the verge of poor quality.

Oh, look, a random cloud providing a break for my eyes. Still bright, but temporary shade.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind the Astros resigning Liriano as the left-handed specialist for the bullpen. He’s notoriously solid against left-handed hitters for his career despite the up’s and down’s of 2017. I also wouldn’t mind a trade for Padres’ reliever Brad Hand. Or signing free-agent reliever Jake McGee. There is also a decision to be made about Tony Sipp in the last season of his contract.

Another area of possible improvement could be the starting rotation. Sure, they have Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers and Brad Peacock. For now. It’s given not all will be in the starting rotation at the same time, but they all did start a game for the Astros in 2017. Alas, there is no guarantee that the each pitcher will last the entire season. Injuries happen. Ineffectiveness can creep in. Another starting pitcher could allow Houston to exercise flexibility with Peacock and McCullers out of the rotation and bullpen. And provide necessary depth. You can just never have enough pitching.

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The future is bright. The Astros have little incentive to upheave the roster. Core players are in place. Nevertheless, a little fine tuning could go a long way towards a memorable 2018.