The latest rumors indicate Astros free agents Will Harris and Robinson Chirinos could sign soon.
Now that the calendar has turned to the new year, the Astros‘ two biggest remaining free agents could soon come off the board. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Will Harris and Robinson Chirinos could be the next two free agents to sign.
Feinsand indicates Harris is mulling multiple multi-year offers in the salary range of $6-7 million per year. We haven’t heard much in the way of rumors on Harris so far this offseason, but it’s unsurprising he is generating interest from multiple clubs given his strong track record.
There’s no word on the type of offers Chirinos has in hand, but Feinsand notes that he is “close to making a decision.” The catcher has generated some interest this offseason as well from teams such as the Mets, Rockies, Rangers, Tigers, Rays and Pirates.
At one point the Astros were among the teams with interest in Chirinos, but that may have changed. The signings of Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau may have effectively taken them out of the running, as there’s no longer a need for Chirinos and they have other needs to fill with limited payroll space.
The club would be silly to not have interest in a reunion with Harris, though the question remains as to whether they are willing to make a competitive offer. They’ve already re-signed Joe Smith to a $4 million per year salary, and as we’ve stated ad nauseum, their payroll space is severely constrained by luxury tax considerations.
Though he’s now 35, Harris has worked to a 2.36 ERA across five seasons in Houston. His return would further solidify the bullpen, though the club currently has a bigger need in the rotation. It’s possible they simply feel they can’t afford to pony up the money for Harris, though it also wouldn’t surprise me if they’re still firmly in the mix.