Will the Astros be a finalist for Shohei Ohtani?
The Houston Astros don’t have too many holes on the roster following winning the first World Series in franchise history. While the Astros are clearly one of the top three teams in the American League, the other teams will improve. If you are not trying to get better, you will not get better.
The obvious holes on the roster could be found in the bullpen. They could add a left-handed reliever or another closing candidate. As we saw last year, you can’t have enough depth in the rotation. With Carlos Beltran’s departure, they could add another impact bat.
It’s doubtful that they add another starting pitcher this offseason with a loaded rotation. When they added Justin Verlander, they created a rotation that could rival the 90s Braves. But what if they can add another weapon?
Ohtani would be nice.
Shohei Ohtani was posted Friday and can now sign with any team. Teams have 30-days to try to sign him. That team would pay the 20 million dollar posting fee. Whoever adds him will add a player who can be a rare 2-way player. Ohtani asked teams to send a proposal to them asking them to sell themselves.
One of the questions that Ohtani asked teams to address was how they would evaluate him as a hitter and pitcher? According to Brian McTaggart, Astros owner Jim Crane says that he would address the left-handed DH need. He also mentioned that he could be a top of the rotation type of pitcher.
Ohtani will fit the versatility of the team.
Honestly, Ohtani would be perfect for the Astros with his 2-way ability. Marwin Gonzalez can play anywhere, Alex Bregman can play short and third, and Yuli Gurriel can play the corners. The versatility of this team is what helped the Astros win the World Series. Without a true left fielder, Gonzalez stepped up in this role.
That’s why it makes sense if the Astros were to sign Jonathan Lucroy to be the backup catcher-first baseman. If you add Ohtani to the mix, you can rotate players based on the matchups. I’m sure teams had to explain to Ohtani how they would use him. My guess would be he would DH on days that he starts and the following day.
West Coast fever?
This will be an exciting decision for whoever lands Ohtani. How much can he handle being an everyday hitter and make one start a week? It’s been rumored that he does not want to be where a current Japanese star is. That would explain why he eliminated the Yankees already.
It appears that the West Coast teams have the best shot to land Ohtani, via Mike Bernardino. According to reports, the Mets, Red Sox, and Twins join the Yankees on the no-go list. The West Coast Athletics are also out, but can you blame him?
The Astros have not been eliminated, but they are in the central time zone. According to Mark Berman, the Astros will do as much as they legally can to sign Ohtani. Crane used the word aggressive when he asked about Ohtani. Berman wrote that Crane is not worried about the posting fee.
Why would the Astros not have a shot? They just won the World Series and are poised to repeat in 2018. The rumors are that Ohtani is not looking to go to a big market team. They have the need, but will it actually happen? Only one person knows for sure. The teams are dropping like flies, will the Astros be a finalist? We will see, Mariners seem like the favorite at the moment.
***Monetary Stats from Mark Berman’s article***