Astros: 3 high-end free agent starters to target

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Houston Astros, Marcus Stroman
Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

Marcus Stroman has since forgiven the 2017 Astros, while also being a strong candidate for the frontend of any rotation.

According to FanGraphs, the Astros are estimated to spend $138 million for the ’22 season, but that doesn’t factor in offseason spending or trade. The luxury tax was set at $210 million in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, which runs out this offseason.

With money freed up, the Astros could target Marcus Stroman, who is valued at $21,040,096 by Spotrac. Stroman, who is 30-years-old, has been with the New York Mets since 2019, before being an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in Toronto.

The right-hander throws a six-pitch arsenal that is heavy relied on by a slider but with two pitches rarely used in a four-seam fastball and a curve. Stroman started a league-leading 33 games in 2021, while posting a 3.02 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP over 179 innings.

Stroman has never been a strong strikeout pitcher with his highest K/9 being 7.9 during the ’21 season. While struggling with hard contact in the past, Stroman has since removed his name from the bottom percentile of average exit velocity in the league in 2021.

In terms of splits, Stroman is almost identical against lefties and righties with a lefties having a .646 OPS against him and righties having a .664 OPS. His ground ball pitching style could nicely complement McCullers’ strikeout pitching at the top of the rotation.