One of the more notable free agents is now off the board for the Astros.
Although the Astros have a perceived need at DH, the club allowed one of the best sluggers in today’s game to sign elsewhere.
Nelson Cruz, who has been one of the game’s powerful sluggers in recent memory, heads to Minnesota on a one-year, $14 million contract. The deal also includes a club option for $12 million in 2020.
Overall, it was a solid acquisition by the Twins for the 38-year old Cruz. The Astros, for better or worse, will either find someone else or roll with hitters already on the roster. I put my money on the latter, because of the current level of depth. That said, I think Houston could’ve used Cruz in next year’s lineup.
As we prepare to enter the new year soon, the Astros are likely to use a combination of players at DH next season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer as a part-time DH to help rest their bodies during the upcoming 162-game season. Tyler White impressed last season with a 144 wRC+ and 12 home runs. He will likely split time at first base with Yuli Gurriel in addition to games as the DH.
Thankfully for the Astros, the roster appears to be deep heading into next year. The acquisition of Michael Brantley and Aledmys Diaz only make the club better in addition to filling the void left by Marwin Gonzalez. At this point, it is expected that Altuve and Correa will be ready for next season. The lack of defensive versatility from Cruz likely limited the Astros’ interest in him.
While Cruz would’ve elevated Houston’s lineup, he does come with risk as he is 38-years old. Also, he is likely a DH-only player at this point in his career. For a club that desires roster flexibility, the Astros were probably not in love with this aspect of Cruz’s skill set.