What will the Houston Astros do once they sign Jason Castro?

Michael Brantley (23) reacts after flying out for the last out of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Brantley (23) reacts after flying out for the last out of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Houston Astros are close to signing free-agent catcher Jason Castro. What will they do when they complete the deal?

The Houston Astros are in serious talks with free-agent catcher Jason Castro, as Mark Feinsand of MLB.com first reported, though it could take time for a deal to be reached as talks leaguewide have stalled due to the holidays.

Castro makes sense for the Astros. He would be an upgrade for the team at catcher behind Martin Maldonado. Most importantly, however, is they would upgrade the position while maintaining financial flexibility to upgrade other parts of the roster.

It is why free agents such as J.T. Realmuto and James McCann made little sense for the Astros. Now, if they’re able to complete the deal with Castro, general manager James Click can properly address the outfield and late inning needs.

The outfield picture begins with Michael Brantley. The team wants to retain him and unlike fellow free agent George Springer, should be well within their price range. Jackie Bradley Jr. is another free agent of interest, though his market is strong and includes the Boston Red Sox. The team will need additional outfielders, of course, though either player figures to be their primary addition.

The bullpen situation, however, remains murky. The team is interested in top free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks. After that, their other targets are unclear. Brad Hand and Blake Treinen also figure to be of interest, too, as the Astros search for Roberto Osuna’s replacement. But the team has shown a willingness to spend big if the right opportunity presents itself and it’s possible Hendriks is that player.

But the Castro addition would give the Astros flexibility to address both positions in a big way, potentially spending top dollar to fill each need. And if the Castro deal gets done, expect the Astros to become more aggressive filling those positions as January nears.

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