The Winter Meetings are in full swing and the rumors are rampant. Will the Astros reel in one of the highly coveted pitchers, there for the taking?
The priorities of the Astros‘ GM, Jeff Luhnow, are no secret, a quality starting pitcher, bullpen help and offensive support for the lineup. Depending on what they’re able to attain to strengthen the starting rotation, will determine how much bullpen help they’ll need. Also, the amount they spend on a pitcher will inversely affect how big of a bat they can acquire. It’s quite the balancing act.
With that being said, it is reported owner Jim Crane may be open to digging deeper into his pocket this year to fill Luhnow’s wishes. The Astros’ payroll at the onset of the 2018 season was $182 million. Crane may be willing to raise that closer to the $200 million point. The limit for the 2019 season, before reaching the luxury-tax threshold, is $206 million and Crane seems willing to get near that mark to accomplish their goals.
"“I’d say if the right situation came along — certainly we’re not going over [the luxury-tax threshold] — but we could move closer to that,” Crane said. “We were pretty high up in the food chain last year. A lot of teams realize the penalty is pretty severe if you go over. We’ll stay within the strike zone.” via Brian McTaggart and MLB.com"
A few of the big-name pitchers have already been scooped up and time is of the essence. The Astros have been rumored to be involved with several teams regarding possible trade talks and also have shown interest in few of the pitchers on the free agent market. Several issues can influence their decision of which pitcher would fit their needs. Do they spend big to acquire the batter they’re seeking first? Do they re-sign Charlie Morton or Dallas Keuchel? What prospects are they willing to cede in a trade?
Taking all of this into consideration, let’s take a look at a few pitchers that would nicely fit the needs of the Houston Astros.