The Hot Stove has been anything but hot. This includes the Astros. In fact, the stove has yet to reach a full simmer.
November was an unusually slow month in terms of actual baseball transactions. Free agency has been a dud thus far, unless you consider Doug Fister and Yusmeiro Petit as big fish. If you do, well, I’m sorry. And the Astros will likely not be involved with any big fish this December.
That said, there will be news, rumors and transactions surrounding the Astros this month.
Tendering contracts is one order of business. Mike Fiers probably won’t be an Astro past Friday evening. Evan Gattis will likely be tendered a contract. Salary arbitration will be an actual item of discussion later on. Barring an unforeseen development, most of the 2017 roster should be intact for the 2018 season.
In terms of free agency, there could be a pursuit for a left-handed reliever and a backup catcher in the near-future. And it should likely happen. Mike Minor is one left-handed reliever who would look good in the Astros’ blue-and-orange. Jonathan Lucroy has had a few down seasons at catcher, yet he could be a decent reclamation project.
Just don’t expect Shohei Ohtani.
Personally, I would be thrilled if Ohtani signed with the Astros. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and the baseball team is quite good. Ohtani would be an experiment of sorts in terms of actual baseball production, yet a fun one. The potential surplus value on Ohtani is going to be crazy high once you account for the peanuts he will be signing for in his first major league contract. By the way, that’s not a good look for Major League Baseball or the Players Association.
At the same time, I also realize the allure of other cities with major league franchises. This country is full of cool places to work and live in. The chances of the Astros landing Ohtani has to be quite low. Wherever Ohtani signs though, I will be closely watching his major league career.
There could also be a minor trade or two.
Like I said, a left-handed reliever and a backup catcher appear to be on the wish list. Just don’t expect a trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Yet I can’t help but dream about the offensive firepower that the Astros would possess with the 2017 AL and NL MVP’s in the same lineup.
Alas, Stanton is most likely going to San Francisco if he waived his no-trade clause based on the latest trade rumors.
I feel sorry for the Marlins’ fanbase. They quite frankly don’t deserve another piss poor owner(s).
If I can be frank for a minute, the Astros will most likely have a quite quiet in December. Outside the usual news, the front office probably won’t do a lot of heavy lifting. There is really no reason to do any heavy lifting on this roster. I wouldn’t completely rule anything out at this point, though. The Hot Stove could heat up fast.