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, Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Correa
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

It will take a lot to keep Carlos Correa in an Astros’ uniform.

As much as we can dream about Carlos Correa returning this offseason, the chances are slim. Correa is destined to make $300 or more million this winter, while the best shortstop on the market.

From a Rookie of the Year to a World Series Champion, the two-time All-Star is the best defensive shortstop in baseball and can even play the hot corner if needed. His bat became more consistent following the 2020 regular season, while injury hasn’t affected his play since 2019.

There are two ways we could possibly see Correa return. Owner Jim Crane will need to be aggressive this offseason in spending, which we haven’t seen him do since he bought the team.

Crane isn’t accustomed to long-term deals, and that is exactly what Correa wants. Correa could also look to negotiate a shorter-term deal with a higher average annual value as well, while the shortstop has stated before that he wants most of his money back in the end in terms of taxes and expenses.

As of right now, I’m not leaning on Correa returning to the Astros this offseason. Every team should express some sort of interest in signing the two-time All-Star, but if Crane steps in again (first time with Michael Brantley last offseason) and gives Correa the check he wants, it will be the biggest deal under Crane’s ownership.

Marwin Gonzalez has likely seen his last at-bat in an Astros’ uniform (again).

Marwin Gonzalez is not the postseason hero that Astros’ fans once loved. He now struggles to switch-hit and stay on a major-league roster, while he was released by Boston this past summer.

The Astros have other utility options they can explore internally and on the market this offseason, while Jeremy Pena and CJ Hinojosa could anticipate some looks this spring. Taylor Jones was also having a phenomenal second half before he tested positive for COVID-19.

Gonzalez’s time in Houston is likely over once again, and while he looks for a new ball club this offseason, it will be interesting to see what teams offer him a minor-league deal and see if he actually accepts one. The 32-year-old had a -0.8 WAR over 91 games this season, which is not a good sign for a major-league deal being offered.

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Important dates for free agency:

  • Nov 7: Team deadline for Qualifying Offers
  • Nov 8: Free agency opens
  • Nov 17: QO accepting deadline
  • Nov 19: Rule 5 draft protection, players added to 40-man
  • Dec 2: Team tenders arbitration players contracts
  • Dec 6-9: Winter Meetings
  • Dec 8: Rule 5 draft