With plenty of time left in the offseason, many people are surprised the big time names are still out there.
Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are seeking ten-year deals, but no one has caved in yet. Harper did meet with the Phillies, so maybe we will see some of the dominoes start to fall soon. Looking at the Astros free agents, it’s a little surprising to see that Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez are still free agents.
Keuchel started the offseason looking for a five-year, $100 million-plus deal according to Jon Morosi. His market could have slowed down waiting for the conclusion of the Machado/Harper saga. Once one, or both sign, we could see names start falling off the market. As Sascha Paruk noted in his recent article, Keuchel is the best-remaining starting pitcher on the free agent market. Paruk also gave his odds of whom Keuchel would end up signing with this offseason.
With the trade for Aledmys Diaz and the signing of Michael Brantley, Gonzalez does not fit in the Astros plans anymore. If you want a prediction of where he ends up, I would say he ends up with the Brewers or the Dodgers. The Astros biggest need at this point could be a third starter, but there is a tempting target on the trade market. It’s a big fish that they have chased for a few years now.
The never-ending chase to trade for Realmuto.
Everyone has been after J.T. Realmuto this year, but the Marlins have stood firm. If it weren’t for the Astros reluctance to trade Kyle Tucker, Realmuto would have been an Astro last year. After giving away players for nothing during their rebuild, Realmuto is their final big trade piece. With that being the case, the price is high right now for the young catcher. The asking price has led to some teams to seek other options.
The Dodgers balked at the Marlins insisting on Cody Bellinger, so they moved on to Russell Martin. They still may try to get Realmuto. They do have Austin Barnes who took over for Yasmani Grandal in the playoffs last year. Grandal has signed with the Brewers, taking them out of the mix for Realmuto, if they ever will. In most people’s mind, the Dodgers were the most likely place for Realmuto.
No need to panic?
Like the Astros did with Robinson Chirinos, the Dodgers could have traded for Martin increase their leverage in trade talks. The Astros and Dodgers seemed desperate, but they now could say that they can pass on the trade. With the Astros unwilling to trade the fifth overall prospect in baseball, maybe they can still work around a secondary package. Despite having Chirinos aboard, Realmuto would add a big bat to the lineup.
The Padres seem to have dropped out of the race for Realmuto according to Bryce Miller, leaving the Braves, Rays, and Astros as the teams still in via Craig Mish. With a package centered around JB Bukauskas and Cionel Perez or Framber Valdez, a deal could be done.
Jeff Luhnow can be patient from this point on and wait out the Marlins. Time is on Luhnow’s side. Astros fans need to wait patiently as we have heard both AJ Hinch and Jim Crane say that they are looking to add a bat.