The Houston Astros are being linked to outfielders and relievers, but one insider believes they are a “perfect fit” for J.T. Realmuto.
The Houston Astros’ needs this winter reside in the outfield and bullpen. The team has been linked to free-agent outfielders Michael Brantley and Jackie Bradley Jr., among others, while being connected to free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks.
But is there a possibility for the Astros to spend big money this winter? After all, the team is primed to lose outfielder George Springer and there is a possibility that Brantley departs as well. It is why, combined with their need at catcher, that Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic believes that J.T. Realmuto is a “perfect fit” for the Astros.
Realmuto, 29, is the best catcher in baseball and would transform their lineup, adding a presence behind the plate that would help a rotation that will be without Justin Verlander in 2021. He has proven in seven major-league seasons to be an elite hitting catcher, slashing .278/.328/.455 with 95 home runs and 358 RBI. Most recently, he hit .266/.349/.491 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 47 games with the Philadelphia Phillies.
There is a realistic shot that the Astros will have the opportunity to sign Realmuto, given that the Phillies are dealing with strict financial constraints after reportedly losing over $100 million in 2020. That said, the odds of Realmuto ending up in Houston appear slim to none.
Firstly, the Astros have established that they are highly unlikely to sign a player attached to the qualifying offer. If general manager James Click were to commit to such a player, they would lose a draft pick. And with the team looking to replenish their farm system after being stripped of their top two draft picks in the future, they are highly doubtful to part with another.
The market for Realmuto, however, could be clouded after the New York Mets signed James McCann. But unless his asking price drops significantly, it is a longshot at best that Realmuto ends up in Houston.