While the free-agent market is starting to thaw, don’t expect the Astros to make a major transaction.
On one hand, the Astros surely wouldn’t complain about an upgrade at various positions. Like, a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out GuY). Or a bonafide starter in left field. How about another catcher? Yes, Houston’s front office probably wouldn’t mind an upgrade or two.
The most common name thrown around the Astros lately has been catcher J.T. Realmuto of the Miami
Firesale Marlins. Tony Watson, now of the San Francisco Giants, was mentioned frequently as a LOOGY possibility, this blog included. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez may or may not have a standing contract offer from the Astros. Who the heck knows?
On the other hand, why change a proven formula? Sure, an upgrade here or there would be nice. But is it a necessity? Probably not. General manager Jeff Luhnow expressed his opinion that the Astros don’t really need to add another player to the roster.
If you need more proof, well, here you go.
Luhnow isn’t wrong in this assumption. The possibility of adding another player or two exists if injuries or ineffectiveness take place. However, he did already address a few needs in the off-season within the bullpen and starting rotation. The emergence of Derek Fisher and the return of Jake Marisnick gives the team a pair of options in left field. Max Stassi is currently the expected backup catcher. Evan Gattis appears to be in line to receive more at-bats as the designated hitter. There are contingency plans in place. Again, why mess with a good thing unnecessarily?
As spring training continues onward though, an intriguing possibility exists: an addition or two at a discounted price. Like I previously remarked, the free-agent market has begun to thaw with the signings of Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez. Players that are still unsigned are likely antsy to sign a new contract. Some may even be willing to take a one-year contract on the hopes of securing a long-term contract next year. Contenders like the Astros could be ready to pounce on a new market inefficiency: experienced veterans that teams do not want to commit long-term dollars to.
Looking ahead, I would surprised if the Astros made a noteworthy transaction. If a move were to take place, I have a feeling that the window of opportunity is already close. But I cannot state that as gospel. I am not an infallible source. Any addition to the roster, though, would be a luxury.