The Astros enter the Winter Meetings with a relatively short wish list, but don’t rule out an upgrade or two.
If the first five weeks or so of the offseason is any indication, I’d expect an active Winter Meetings this week. For one, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still free-agents along with other quality players. The Indians may trade Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer quite soon, because of “market constraints“. J.T. Realmuto may remain a Marlin? Who knows?
The Astros, like all teams, enter the annual event with a preferred list of needs. Starting pitcher figures to be one area of keen interest. As suggested by Jake Kaplan of The Athletic, left-hander Robbie Ray is a possible trade target if the Diamondbacks continue their recent trading spree. Free-agent Charlie Morton, who spent the last two seasons in Houston, is a potential fit on another short-term contract. J.A. Happ is another possible option, if the bidding war for his services doesn’t take off. Whenever general manager Jeff Luhnow fills out the starting rotation, I wouldn’t be shocked if a trade is the route of choice.
Another position to watch is first base/designated hitter as the Astros have shown an interest in an upgrade. Paul Goldschmidt likely would’ve been in Houston by now if Arizona preferred Cionel Perez and J.B. Bukauskas over the Cardinals’ package, as noted by Jon Heyman of Fancred. White Sox slugger Jose Abreu is unlikely to be traded this offseason, but Houston has reportedly inquired per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Jose Martinez of the Cardinals is a name to carefully watch.
The Winter Meetings will be interesting to watch this week as multiple players will find new professional homes for 2019. The Astros will remain a popular club in the rumor circle as they’ve already been linked to notable players.
Here’s a word of caution, though: don’t set your hopes high for Luhnow to address all of the club’s needs this week. The conclusion of the meetings do not mark the end of the offseason. For example, Gerrit Cole was acquired in mid-January earlier this year. The Astros have time to take care of themselves.