Salazar would fall under the “taking a flier” category. He’s made just one major league appearance over the past two seasons thanks to injuries, so he’s far from a sure thing. But that also means he could likely be had on a one-year, incentive-laden deal.
With that being the case, he’s worth the risk. He’s still young, only turning 30 years old this coming January. He’s largely been productive in the major leagues, with a career 3.82 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
The right-hander was a mainstay in the Cleveland rotation before being bitten by the injury bug. He has a career 3.12 postseason ERA, though that’s limited to only 8.2 innings. He was an All-Star in 2016 and won 14 games with a 3.45 ERA in 2015.
The question would be whether he’d be willing to come to Houston over a different club with a better chance of him making the rotation. This could work against the Astros, as they would likely not be comfortable guaranteeing him a spot in the rotation.
But if Salazar is willing to complete for a roster spot and wants to win, this could be a perfect fit. There’s nothing guaranteed with Salazar, but there’s also plenty of upside. If he’s able to stay healthy and at least partially return to form, signing him could prove to be a boon for the Astros.