Is no news really good news? Will the Astros make more headlines this offseason? As is usual for the offseason, it’s been pretty quiet on the Astros’ home front.
Second, last offseason, Alex Bregman was one of the most vocal ballplayers on social media. This offseason, Bregman has not been active AT ALL on social media. To me, this is just oddly discomforting and so very deafening.
Whether any of this has to with Astros-gate and MLB’s investigation is yet to be revealed.
It has been very difficult to come up with subjects to write about that are not just repetitive rhetoric. With Winter meetings in full swing, this week promises to be pretty active in the overall market. Let’s hope the Astros are in the mix on this somewhere.
However, it is very doubtful the Astros make much of a splash this offseason. With the core intact, the team is pretty solid moving into 2020. Plus, the trade for Zack Greinke at the 2019 trade deadline was a pretty big splash that emptied the water from the proverbial pool.
All of that being said, we still need to shore up a few things. It’s probably not lost on anyone reading this that the Astros still need a starting catcher, a starting pitcher or two, and at least one reliever, if not two. Hopefully, these issues are in some way dealt with this week.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping beyond hope that we take a stab at Gerrit Cole during the meetings. Rumors are that the Yankees opened negotiations with Cole with a contract upwards of $35M a year for 7+ years. Of course, today’s deal between the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg (reported by Jeff Passan) for seven years at $245M literally just blew up that offer (pun intended). Wow!
The Astros have not been mentioned anywhere as being in the mix for Cole, but I doubt they don’t at least try. Even though it would seem out of character for us to even come close to this kind of offer, I’m sure these numbers are not out of line from what was expected when Jim Crane commented earlier this offseason that the Astros would make a run for Cole.
And yes, these numbers make it seem highly doubtful that the Astros are successful, and the realistic part of my brain is guessing we’ve seen the last of Cole in an Astros uniform. But the wishful side of my heart is still hoping beyond hope that there’s a ticket for a 2020 ride on the Cole-train in my Christmas stocking. (Insert laughing/crying emoji here!!!)
One has to wonder what these negotiations look like, right? I mean, how long does it take to make a deal? How near to the end of negotiations before it’s leaked that a team is likely to sign someone?
With just over two months (65 days) until catchers and pitchers are slated to report to spring training, it seems a bit odd to me that there’s not more chatter about who the Astros are looking at both to add to the pitching staff and to act as the starting backstop.
Who knows? Maybe this silence is due to hopeful aspirations the front office might have that a deal can still be made with Cole and they’re just waiting to see how that pans out. (A girl can wish for the highly improbable, right? I mean, after all, Christmas is a mere 16 days away.)
There has been some chatter that the Astros are interested in Willson Contreras, a catcher from Venezuela who currently plays for the Cubs. Supposedly, the Cubs are vetting interest for him in the market. It’s hard to figure what we would have for the Cubs in a trade, though. Even though rumors abound about a desire for the Astros to trade Josh Reddick, this seems very unlikely from a standpoint of any benefit to the Cubs considering Reddick is a free agent in 2021 and Contreras has at least three seasons of team control left.
Robinson Chirinos is the #1 FA catcher on the market at the moment, and he’s another big wish on my Christmas list. His veteran presence in the clubhouse, the fact that he and Verlander were so very compatible, and he is seemingly a fan favorite are all intangibles that cannot be quantified through statistics.
Of course, the Astros traded for Martin Maldonado in each of the last two seasons. Maldonado was so happy to return to H-Town, perhaps he’s the chosen one to return in 2020. He’s no stranger to either Justin Verlander, Greinke, or Lance McCullers Jr., and I can see where this could be a win-win for both the Astros and Maldonado.
I can say that I’m not envious of the executives having to make all of these decisions. It’s easy to sit here on my computer and read articles, review stats, and make a wish list for what the 2020 Astros team will look like. One of the hardest parts of the offseason is the waiting for news of acquisitions and the repetitive speculations. But the very hardest part is the countdown to the beginning of spring training in 2020.
Like I said, it’s 65 days until pitchers and catchers report to FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida.
But then, who’s counting?