Astros News

Astros: Examining the current baseball landscape this offseason

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HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros hits a RBI single in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros hits a RBI single in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 18: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros reacts after striking out in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 18: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros reacts after striking out in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

AL West

Houston Astros

Despite a top-three starting rotation in 2018, the club’s 2019 unit is shaping to look quite different. Keuchel and Charlie Morton are likely gone, and Lance McCullers Jr. is out next year following Tommy John surgery. Another starter along with a new catcher is high on the priority list. Lots of talent remain for an extended window, but the upcoming free agency of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole next year puts 2019 in the limelight. Acquiring Gray from the Yankees is the type of move that this franchise now thrives on, and one they should consider.

Los Angeles Angels

Shohei Ohtani will play in 2019, albeit exclusively as a hitter. Mike Trout is still Mike Trout, the best position player in baseball. Starting rotation remains the Angels’ most glaring weakness. A division foe in Keuchel could help stabilize the front end of the rotation until Ohtani returns to pitching in 2020. However, the clock is ticking as Trout is a free-agent following the 2020 season, so the Angels need to succeed soon. Another potential storyline: How much longer do the Angels play Albert Pujols?

Oakland Athletics

One of the biggest surprises in 2018, the A’s have plenty of young talent throughout the roster. Matt Chapman is one of the best overall players in the game. Blake Treinen led a dominant bullpen into the postseason. Like the Angels, Oakland’s starting rotation is the weak link. Don’t look for them to spend too much in the offseason, but this is a club that squeezes value out of unexpected places. Billy Beane and his front office could also be active in the trade market if they find something of value.

Texas Rangers

Another rebuilding club in the AL. Adrian Beltre is a free agent, but he could be back if he likes the direction of the franchise. Joey Gallo had an encouraging 2018 campaign along with Rougned Odor. Texas can likely squeeze some value out of the lineup, but the pitching staff remains the weak link. On a side note, have you noticed how difficult it is to build a strong pitching staff?

Seattle Mariners

Good, but not good enough in a stack AL. A possible rebuilding club as the offseason kicks into full gear with the trade of Mike Zunino to the Rays. James Paxton, Edwin Diaz, and Jean Segura can also bring back multiple quality prospects to help prop up one of the worst systems in baseball. Incidentally, they should retain All-Star outfielder Mitch Haniger, who took off in 2018. Remember that Seattle does have a few years of club control remaining, so he is someone general manager Jerry Dipoto can build around.

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