Yes, the Astros didn’t make a splash of any kind during the Winter Meetings. By the way, there isn’t anything wrong with that.
In the weeks following the postseason, the Astros developed a clear list of needs: Catcher, starting pitcher(s), designated hitter, left-handed bat, and additional depth. By the time the Winter Meetings had begun, general manager Jeff Luhnow already signed free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos and traded for utility player Aledmys Diaz.
A good start, right?
Fast forward to December 15th, and the Astros have yet to make the newsworthy acquisition many were wanting to see. There hasn’t been a J.T. Realmuto trade, which isn’t likely to involve Houston now. Yankees were able to retain left-hander J.A. Happ during the Winter Meetings, another rumored target for Houston. Paul Goldschmidt is a Cardinal for 2019. Free-agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz is still available. Zack Greinke remains in the desert. Heck, Charlie Morton is now a Ray. There were plenty of Astros’ rumors during the Winter Meetings, yet nothing materialized in Las Vegas.
I’ll admit that it is a bit disheartening to see the competition improve while the Astros have missed out on some possible targets. That said, the offseason is far from over. Houston still has time to address various needs by the time mid-February comes around. No reason to panic right now. Remember the Winter Meetings are also a good starting point for building a foundation towards future deals. Especially in light of Goldschmidt-to-St. Louis, it is also important to point out that each club values prospects differently. When comparing prospects, a divide in opinion can develop.
For the Astros though, there is already a solid base of talent at their disposal. Young talent is starting to push its way to the majors in the form of Kyle Tucker, Josh James, Forrest Whitley, Framber Valdez, Corbin Martin, and Cionel Perez. And, yes, Tucker is still a crucial part of the club’s future as long as he remains in the organization. Give the bust talk a rest until the 21-year old(!) has more than a cup of coffee at the major league level. No, seriously, give it a rest. No one wants to hear it until Tucker proves, without a doubt, otherwise.
End of Tucker rant.
Like I was saying, the Astros have talent on the roster. Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock are solid internal options for a starting rotation job. Same goes for the youngsters, which is more of a gamble than acquiring a proven veteran. I wouldn’t even rule out another catcher acquisition if the dominoes fall in the right way. Honestly, I do believe Luhnow will work to acquire at least one more starting pitcher, much like he did when Houston traded for Gerrit Cole last January. Oh, yes, a notable trade that occurred following the Winter Meetings.
I’ll leave you with this point if it isn’t already apparent: The Astros have time. Plenty of time, in fact. If there aren’t any clear acquisitions to make this team better come early February, then, yes, criticism is likely warranted.