New additions at key positions
As I first mentioned earlier in the post, the Astros aren’t expected as the most active club in free agency. That said, Houston is predicted as signing two players that fill in at positions of need.
C Wilson Ramos signs for three-years, $36 million
There isn’t a position on the Astros that needs more attention than catcher. Yes, I realize the starting rotation isn’t in great shape right now, but it is a close second. At least the Astros have depth on the pitching staff. Not the case with catcher, though. Despite a torn ACL prior to the conclusion of the 2016 season, Ramos rebounded in 2018. The age-31 catcher hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and a 131 wRC+ for the Rays and Phillies this year. Not a prolific catcher last year in terms of pitch framing, Ramos would bring a quality bat to a position that was the weakest in the lineup. The chance to DH at times to rest his body should also interest the catcher. As noted by MLBTR, look for multiple contenders to talk with him this offseason, including the Red Sox, A’s, and Dodgers.
LHP Zach Britton signs for three-years, $33 million
If I had a dime for every time I’ve written about Britton on this blog, well, I still I wouldn’t have enough to retire. Maybe a number one Whataburger? Yeah, probably. My money issues aside, the left-hander would slide right into the Astros’ bullpen just fine. Once considered one of the best closers in baseball, his value took a hit thanks to various injuries over the past two seasons. In fact, he didn’t make 2018 debut until mid-June.
The Yankees would acquire him before the trade deadline, and he did well enough with a 3.10 ERA and 4.22 FIP on the season. There is a feeling that he has yet to fully rebound, which makes the predicted three-year pact with an annual value of $11 million an intriguing one. Like Ramos, multiple contenders will likely express interest.