New Year’s resolution? Astros need to defend the championship!
Happy New Year, and nine days in we are anxiously waiting for the 2018 regular season to kick off so we can watch our beloved Astros defend the championship. Valentine’s Day couldn’t come any sooner. Not for the flowers, candy and fancy dinners for me per say, but for when pitchers and catchers report.
Hang tight, fellow Astros fans, as we are almost there. Meanwhile, it’s been a quiet start to the New Year. Aren’t you wondering who will show up on February 14th?
What do you think the Astros New Year’s resolution would be? If I gave you one guess, what would it be? Repeating as World Champions? Yeah, that’s the common answer… I would look further. I would guess; Win now and in the future. How would exactly could the Astros secure superiority in the future?
Let’s re-address a few things.
What’s the deal, or lack thereof with Darvish and Arrieta?
With a little more than a month away, what’s the latest on Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta? Your Astros among a handful of other teams are still interested with these two free agents but the hot stove has cooled off a bit, hasn’t it? There still remains that strong possibility that both Darvish and Arietta remain with their teams, the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively.
The duo will not be cheap, however. Darvish and Arietta are both looking to secure lucrative, long-term contracts. Sounds like a lot, but don’t forget that Dallas Keuchel is set to hit free agency next year and Justin Verlander the year after that. Is it time to pony up now and secure a starting pitcher on this team now, or risk holes in the rotation next season?
Another concern is that I would hate those two will slip by the Astros and land within the division or American League. For example, the Yankees and Rangers have shown interest this off-season in shoring up their pitching staff. Other contenders have as well.
At the very least, I could only hope the front office is serious about addressing the rotation needs of the future and while having to spend now, that might not be such a bad thing when looking in hindsight.
Let’s revisit Christian Yelich for just a moment.
About a month ago, I wrote a piece on my hopefulness in possibly signing Christian Yelich. Yelich is still a Marlin and an asking price from Miami has surfaced. Miami, in what seems like an Astro-Ball approach, is seeking three or four genuine assets or prospects, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
"According to Ken Rosenthal’s latest in The Athletic, “one rival executive believes the Marlins would be justified in asking for three or four genuine assets” when it comes to a Yelich trade."
The fact that the Marlins pretty much gave away Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna for pennies on the dollar doesn’t surprise me that they want more back with Yelich. Sure the Astros have a ton of prospects. And I debated on whether we should part ways with them or not for Yelich. Someone will bleed the farm for him and it’s most likely the Atlanta Braves. I still think securing a high caliber outfielder now is something you shouldn’t count out. It may not take as much as you think.
Who is J.T Realmuto?
The Astros have targeted another Miami Marlin J.T. Realmuto. He’s a right handed catcher posting a .278 batting average, 68 RBI and 17 home runs. He is among the top young catchers and could be locked in to a long term deal at that position. Again, he also would require a handful of prospects in return
With Evan Gattis now the perennial DH with Carlos Beltran retiring, who will man the catcher position along with Brian McCann? Climbing Tal’s Hill mentioned Max Stassi reporting to Pitchers and Catchers on February 14th with a real shot to be a backup. But who else will show up?
What will it take?
With three strokes of a pen and depleting the farm system, the Astros can address a future hole in the outfield with Yelich. They can secure an arm for five years with Darvish or Arietta. Lastly, they wouldn’t have to worry about catching duties with Realmuto for the foreseeable future. But again, what will it take? And are the Astros fine with giving up the farm or cash to do that?
Maybe I’m just anxious to see the opening day roster. Maybe I’m just anticipating being even stronger than last season. Without a doubt, I think the Astros will repeat as World Champions, I’m just concerned with the years after that.
I’m just anxious for the season to start. Opening Day is March 29th and that is only 79 days away. Or 113,760 or so minutes. But who’s counting?
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and MLB.com**