While having a somewhat lack luster offseason, the Houston Astros had been in talks with multiple players and teams, while they looked to fill holes after the departure of George Springer and the injury to Justin Verlander. As everyone can be a critic to their favorite team, the past offseason wasn’t the most spectacular in Astros’ history, but by early season numbers, they dodged a bullet in not signing Jackie Bradley Jr. or trading for Andrew Benintendi.
As both options were in talks, these players add to an ongoing list of possible future Astros that could’ve hurt the team in the end. The other headlining name is Trevor Rosenthal, who will miss extended time with an arm injury. The Astros have had their personal early struggles, but these former Fenway dwellers wouldn’t have benefited the team in the end.
Let’s take a look at these former Red Sox outfielders, and see why the Astros lucked out.
While former frontrunners for both players, the Astros stuck with their home grown players of Myles Straw and Kyle Tucker. Michael Brantley also re-signed, and the outfield looked complete, but through eight to 10 games this season, these three are playing better than the two former Boston Red Sox outfielders.
From his new home at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, the newly acquired Royal hasn’t played anywhere near his potential, and for an Astros’ offense that has cooled off, this is something worth noting. The left-hander is hitting .188/.278/.188 through 32 at bats in eight games, and while being a small sample size, Benintendi shouldn’t be playing this poorly. While having only six hits this season, the left-hander doesn’t have an extra-base hit and is striking out close to 33% of the time.
While being involved in a three team trade, the Kansas City Royals gave up Franchy Cordero and others to the teams involved, but Cordero was no longer a prospect, so it depends what the Astros would’ve given up. Although Benintendi has had a solid glove in the field, the left-hander is on the same level of speed and defense as Straw. The 40-man roster being filled was a reoccurring issue this past offseason, and if either player was acquired, someone could’ve been in DFA or trade trouble, but with Austin Pruitt and Justin Verlander being 60-day injured list eligible, there were safe ways to bring in players.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
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While JBJ was the most sought out centerfielder on the market this past offseason, besides Springer, he didn’t sign until the start of spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers. The left-hander signed a two-year deal worth $24 million, that would’ve put the Astros in a tough situation dealing with the luxury tax threshold.
Through nine game this season, JBJ has struggled with .129/.156/.290 at the plate, but as a defensive specialist in centerfield, he is not showing how he is worth $12 million a year. While being better than Straw in the field, JBJ hasn’t hit close to his potential as well. This is proving that his 60-game numbers look to be inflated by the small sample size. The beginning to a season is also deemed a small sample size, but dealing with money issues is the main reason why the Astros lucked out.
As Straw hasn’t had the best start to his first season as a starter either, the right-hander has been slightly better than Benintendi and JBJ. Although his ceiling might not be as high as the former Red Sox, he comes at a lower cost and is hitting .206/.308/.206 in more plate appearances. With Tucker turning his season around as well, the Astros are saving money in the near future, while they look to retool next offseason with their abundance of spare payroll.