One of the busiest weeks in baseball is just a couple of days away with the Winter Meetings kicking off, and the Houston Astros figure to be productive.
The top brass of the Astros and 29 other MLB teams and their staff will all converge in San Diago, California for the 2019 MLB Winter Meetings. The five days from Dec. 8 to Dec. 12 will be jam-packed with exhibitions, meetings, and discussions on the state of baseball today.
But it’s those ever so important private meetings between teams, their executives, and possibly players’ agents that everyone anticipates. What trades will transpire between teams or what big-name free agent will sign with which team? Will their team be active or come out of the meetings the same way they went in? These are the questions every fan wants to be answered.
The offseason has already kicked off with a bang in a robust free-agent market with quite a few top players already signing with new ballclubs. The Winter Meetings will most likely be just as busy, if not more, with teams trying to fill their needs. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has indicated that he hopes to come out of the meetings with a hole or two filled.
"“I’m excited the market seems to be moving more quickly this year and we’re certainly going to be having all the relevant conversations in San Diego and I’d love to make a transaction or two,” Luhnow said. “We’ll have to wait and see how it goes. It is encouraging teams are active and players and agents are willing to do things earlier then they have in the past two years.” via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com"
A top vacancy the Astros need to address is obviously the starting catcher position. They did acquire free agent Dustin Garneau, but he will most likely be contending for the backup role. Four of the top ten free agent catchers have already signed and are off the board, making the need to act now a little more urgent. Fan-favorite Robinson Chirinos is still unclaimed and his return to Houston would be a welcomed sight.
Starting pitching, as well as the bullpen, is another concern that will need to be dealt with. Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are the top two pitchers on the market and teams are fighting tooth-and-nail trying to bring one of those aces home to their respective city. The Astros are most likely out of the race for either one of them, but there are quite a few middle-to-upper tier starters that would be a nice addition to the Astros rotation, and the same goes for relief pitchers.
There’s no telling what will happen, if anything, in the next week. But I suspect it’s going to be one heck of an active week. So strap on your seatbelts for what could be a wild ride and be sure to stay tuned right here at CTH for the latest information and updates.