Houston Astros: An overview of the offseason possibilities
I know. I totally get it. It’s still fresh. Astros fans are still very distressed, if not depressed, that we were only eight outs away from landing another championship.
There are a lot of “what if” scenarios floating around on social media and some are just not very nice. Let’s flip the script a little bit. The 2019 Astros are not finished making the headlines.
With our Golden Glove and Silver Slugger in Zack Greinke, he is only the second pitcher in MLB history to ever get both. (Former Astro, Mike Hampton, won in 2003 when he was with the Atlanta Braves.) Oh yeah, and Greinke leads all pitchers in OBP.
George Springer won his second Silver Slugger award and Alex Bregman won his first career Silver Slugger award.
Yordan Alvarez was named the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year with a unanimous vote from the BBWAA. All to be revealed by Friday, the Astros are likely candidates to clean up in the rest of the awards with one of either Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander being a shoo-in for the AL Cy Young award and, by some accounts, Alex Bregman is a lock for the AL MVP.
The GM meetings started yesterday in Arlington, and Winter Meetings begin the first week of December. If history is any teacher, though, it’s unlikely any real moves will be made by the Astros before or during the Winter Meetings, and it’s even more likely nothing of significance happens until we get closer to Spring Training.
(Just in case you haven’t already marked your calendar and started counting off the days, catchers and pitchers report between February 11 and 14, a mere 91 days from the writing of this article.)
A lot of discussion is being had about the luxury tax threshold and some calculations indicate that, even without signing Cole, we’re up against that threshold anyway, facing an overage of close to $40M. But to me, it’s not my money. Why do I need to worry about how much it will cost this team to win next season? Someone else, who gets paid way more than I do, has the job of figuring all of that out.
Me? I’m just a fan. A fan that, like the team, wants another championship trophy. And just like everyone else, it took me a minute to get over the Game 7 loss. With the help of looking forward, however, I’m on the mend. We fought hard, the Nat’s earned their win, and sometimes, you’ve just got to tip your cap and move on.
In the interest of moving on, let’s just fantasize a little bit and talk about some moves that could happen before opening day in 2020, a mere 135 days away.
Defining our needs:
Let’s first address our needs, not our desires. We’re losing quite a few players, mostly pitchers, to free agency. At the moment, we’re in need of at least one, if not two, starters and at least four relievers, not to mention at least one, if not two, catchers.
By now, we all know (or at least we all should know) about Cole, but there are probably some that don’t realize that Will Harris, Joe Smith, Hector Rondon, and Collin McHugh are also all free agents. In addition, with Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado both free agents, we’ve got no catchers, except for Garrett Stubbs.
Chris Devenski had a team option that was not exercised, so he’s back to arbitration. Devo and Aaron Sanchez are part of the rumor mills as possibilities for being non-tendered, which would make them both free agents. With the possible addition of these two to the FA market, that leaves our bullpen quite skimpy — at least at the moment.