The non-tender deadline is Friday and fans wonder if Evan Gattis will be non-tendered.
With the Winter Meetings about ten days away, the Astros have some decisions to make. This is also the time of year when speculation and rumors run amok. It’s hard to follow all the rumors out there and know which ones are legit. Part of the job of us lonely bloggers is to write about what we think would improve the team we follow. The job of reporters is to report news and offer non-biased opinions.
Brian McTaggart wrote an article for MLB.com about possible non-tenders as the deadline approaches. It was no surprise that he mentioned that Mike Fiers could be one of the candidates this offseason. What was surprising was that he mentioned that Evan Gattis could be a non-tender candidate.
Once I get a chance, I will go back and finish my look back at Brian McCann and Gattis’ season as a catcher duo. Were they one of the best duos in Astros history? That is another story for another day. According to Jake Kaplan, the Astros have already announced that Gattis would primarily DH in 2018. Not saying that his catching days are over, but they could be looking to get his bat in the lineup more.
Would they really part with Gattis?
Although McTaggart thinks it would not be surprising to see Gattis back. The non-tender deadline is Friday night, which means the Astros have two days to decide what to do. They could look to trade Gattis who proved that he could be a solid backup catcher and everyday DH. Maybe they could trade him for an upgrade in the bullpen. There are options.
As McTaggart mentions, they are looking for an upgrade defensively for a backup catcher. Depending on who that upgrade is, the Astros could be more willing to part ways with Gattis. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Gattis has an arbitration figure of about $6.6 million for 2018. What if they can’t agree to a deal and go to arbitration, those hearings are not always good for team-player morale.
Finding cheaper options?
Many people forget that the Astros will be paying Justin Verlander $20 million per season through 2019. They could be looking to make cutbacks in some places and add on to other places, namely the bullpen. It seems like left-handed reliever Mike Minor‘s name keeps coming up, plus they could look to make other impact bat additions.
They have already lost Carlos Beltran to retirement. Unless they feel confident in A.J. Reed, Tyler White, or J.D. Davis to be the DH in 2018, it’s hard to see them parting with Gattis. While his offensive numbers were down in 2017, that was due to McCann getting the majority of time behind the dish. Gattis played in 44 fewer games in 2017 than 2016 and only hit 12 homers and drove in 55 RBIs.
The Astros saw Gattis as an elite right-handed power hitter when they traded for him. Not sure if that belief has changed, but it is still unlikely they move him. With more at-bats in 2018, he can return to the 27 and 32 homer seasons in 2015-16. We will know on Friday.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***