No need to worry about complacency with the Astros
Yes, the Astros have yet to make a notable acquisition this offseason. And there is no need to worry.
If you pay attention to the Hot Stove with any sort of vigor, then you will surely notice the lack of transactions from the Astros. Before you start hyperventilating into a paper bag, take a deep breath my friend.
The lack of transactions is fine. Just fine.
Now, I will be the first to admit that the Astros have a few needs to address. A left-handed reliever is an obvious example.
And, yes, I sound like a broken record.
And, no, I won’t stop.
Taking one’s time does not hurt. It sometimes pays to be picky.
Don’t take the absence of action by the Astros as a sign of complacency. The lack of player movement across the league is rather surprising. Of course, the uncertainty surrounding Giancarlo Stanton and Shoehi Ohtani till now has somewhat hampered the movement. While the big-ticket items have yet to move this winter, there have been smaller transactions throughout the last week or ten days.
So, there are signs of life.
Teams do also not want to spend substantial amounts of cold, hard cash on this free-agent market. Don’t forget that next year’s free-agent class will likely be a historic one. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw are just a few of the names that will be available next year. They are all-time talents. If I were a general manager of a franchise, I would be pestering my owner for the next eleven or so months to open up the pocket book for one, or two, of those players.
Bleep it! Why not all three?
There is also the decent probability I would be fired just for that persistent.
Wait, this is about the Astros and complacency, right?
Well, you shouldn’t be worried.
This roster is stacked. Simply stacked.
For starters, Houston has the AL MVP in Jose Altuve. Carlos Correa is an MVP-level talent. Alex Bregman had a terrific season. Yuli Gurriel, despite the low walk rate, finally gave the Astros a solid first baseman for the second time since Lance Berkman.
Why, yes, I still consider Chris Carter’s 2014 season at first base a modest success.
George Springer is doing his thing, which is quite spectacular. He is the World Series MVP for a reason. Josh Reddick is solid. And his wrestling fandom is welcomed in these parts. Marwin Gonzalez has the second-best underdog story on the roster. Evan Gattis, otherwise known as El Oso Blanco, has provided some key moments for the team. Brian McCann has been the steady force behind the plate. And the bench is deep.
The starting rotation led by Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton is no joke. The bullpen, although it lacks a reliable left-handed reliever at this moment, is still solid. Yes, I stand behind this bullpen despite the postseason issues. Ken Giles was quite good. And it would be foolish to remove him from his role. Well, unless Giles implodes in the regular season. Or the postseason next year if the Astros are so fortunate to qualify again. Hey, the postseason isn’t easy to qualify for. You have to be good to partake in meaningful baseball in October.
This doesn’t mean that the Astros will not be making any moves. There will be additions. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Jake McGee in Houston. You could do worse than Jonathan Lucroy as a backup catcher in conjunction with McCann although the former Brewer and Ranger have seen better days. Tweaks are always needed. And sometimes patience is required.
Next: Assessing former Astros closer Billy Wagner’s Hall of Fame case
Heck, the Astros know all about patience. They went through baseball hell earlier in the decade to get to this point. I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt this winter.