Jeff Luhnow digs the long ball as rumors come out that the Astros explored a trade for Giancarlo Stanton.
Does anyone else wish Drayton McLane could visit the Astros front office and ask what they are doing to become a champion? After years of McLane asking that when he owned the team, they finally have an answer. Jeff Luhnow would say, “we traded for Justin Verlander!”
Now that they are champions, what will Jim Crane and Luhnow do now? Will they have a somewhat blah offseason and rest on their laurels? For a team that won the World Series, they really didn’t have too many players walking this offseason. By the way, good luck Mike Fiers.
The trade for Verlander was not the reason the Astros went to the playoffs. They could have done so without him. Luhnow was patient during the process of getting the players he wanted to build this team. Despite the injuries, the Astros just won.
Elite power bat wanted.
There has been one player that Luhnow had coveted for a while. They say chicks dig the long ball, but so does Luhnow. Via leaked trade discussions during Hack-Gate, he tried to trade for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. If Luhnow were comfortable trading George Springer and Carlos Correa when they were in the minors, Stanton would have been an Astro. Thankfully, he wasn’t.
Despite the changes in the Marlins front office, you know that at some point Luhnow would call and check in on Stanton. It’s just what he does. He craves the big right-handed elite power hitters as he saw in Evan Gattis back in 2015. Stanton finally put everything together in 2017 and won the NL MVP Award.
After an MVP season, you would think that Stanton would be a big part of the team in 2018. Instead, Derek Jeter and the front office are trying to unload the contract for one of the best hitters in the game. Stanton signed a 13-year, 325 million dollar deal in 2015.
The Astros kicked the tires.
While the Cardinals and Giants appear to be favorites, the Astros apparently tried to acquire Stanton. According to Craig Mish of Sirius XM, the Astros explored a trade for Stanton. They were unable to work out a deal. They are no longer in on Stanton.
This is just my opinion, but the Astros were probably hesitant to take on the remainder of Stanton’s salary and give up top prospects. We saw this as the case with Verlander, who was finally acquired with seconds of the August 31st deadline. A deal got done, but the quality of the prospects went down in the process.
The Marlins want to get his payroll off the books and get players to justify and help them win in the future. Crane said earlier this offseason that they have thought about how Stanton’s bat would play in Minute Maid Park. As they showed with Verlander, they are willing to take on salary for the right player.
Why the Astros might have done it.
The Astros could have traded a few of their prospects from their farm system with the active roster filled with controllable players. Could they have traded Kyle Tucker? While doubtful they would have, Stanton, is under team control through 2028. The catch is Stanton could opt out of his contract after the 2020 season.
While they didn’t really need Stanton, he would have looked nice batting cleanup for the Astros. He hit 59 homers and drove in 132 runs in 2017. Picture that bat in addition to Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Correa.
No sense in contemplating too much about it, but things can change down the road. Improving the bullpen is the most important task this offseason. Just shows that they are open to improving an already great offense. Whether it’s a true rumor or not, great to hear they are trying to improve.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***