Astros free agents: Predicting which FAs stay and which leave Houston

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Houston Astros, Kendall Graveman
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Kendall Graveman could find a large contract this offseason, which is something the Astros aren’t accustomed to with relievers.

Kendall Graveman never wanted to leave Seattle, and while his gung-ho attitude was humbling after the trade occurred, we also had to think about the future. Graveman was the best reliever added at the deadline on a cheap deal, but now after a season with a 1.77 ERA and a 9.8 K/9, the right-hander could be a hot commodity this offseason.

Like last season with Blake Treinen, Alex Colome, Brad Hand, etc., Graveman will be one of those high-end relievers that all teams will take a look at. The right-hander’s value might leave out salary room for a starting pitcher and a shortstop this offseason, meaning we have possibly seen the last of Graveman.

Brooks Raley could be back on another short-term deal, while the Astros need a lefty.

As much as fans showed their displeasure with Brooks Raley this season, the left-hander’s unlucky performances were simply backed behind advanced metrics. Raley was in the 100th percentile in average exit velocity, which is the best in baseball.

The future of lefties in the Astros’ bullpen is in the hands of Blake Taylor and Kent Emanuel, who is recovering from injury. There are other options in Triple-A with Jonathan Bermudez progressing mightily during the 2021 minor-league season.

But bringing back Raley on a one-year deal makes sense, as the Astros can evaluate their left-handed hurlers that are under team control during the 2022 season.

While a high-leverage target, Yimi Garcia’s return to the Astros is a tossup.

Yimi Garcia’s ERA climbed like many of the Astros’ relief pitching acquisitions after the deadline, but Garcia’s strikeout rate also climbed. The right-hander struck out 8.7 per nine innings in Miami, while striking out 10.5 in Houston.

Garcia could be on a few different teams’ minds this winter, as many look for high-leverage options out of their bullpen. I do not believe Garcia will be back next season, but after making $1.9 million in arguably his third-best season of his career, he probably won’t make too much more than he did in 2021.