Astros: Gauging the AL West as the offseason simmers
Coming off a 103-win season in 2018, the Astros are again the early favorites in the AL West. While sixty percent of their vaunted starting rotation is potentially gone in 2019, there is enough talent on this roster to carry the team. Plus, the front office led by Jeff Luhnow looks like an active player in free agency and trade rumors.
Areas to address: Catcher, starting pitcher, left fielder (?), left-handed reliever
Google “Astros” and “rumors”, and you’ll see plenty involving the club. A popular one is trading for catcher J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins, although I don’t know if Miami will receive the package they’re holding out for this offseason. Also, watch out for free agent catchers Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal. Martin Maldonado, who spent part of the 2018 season with the Astros, is another possible solution.
James Paxton was another favorite trade candidate until the Yankees swooped in. That’s fine though as I think it is safer to hang on to top prospect Forrest Whitley. Nathan Eovaldi is a name to watch this offseason along with J.A. Happ, both of whom would fill in nicely in the Astros’ rotation. A trade for a starter from Arizona or Cleveland is also a possibility.
Unless Houston decides Kyle Tucker isn’t ready for the full-time job, or used as a trade chip, the Astros may sign another outfielder to go with George Springer and Josh Reddick. A.J. Pollock and Michael Brantley are two notable names to watch along with Andrew McCutchen. I’d also expect for rumors to pick up steam about certain left-handed relievers on the market. Wouldn’t mind another left-handed bat, but don’t hold your breath about Marwin Gonzalez returning.