After not signing a free agent center fielder last offseason, the Houston Astros are in a similar spot for the 2022 season. With Jake Meyers likely not ready to return for Opening Day, the ball club will lean on a possible platoon between Chas McCormick and Jose Siri in center field, or they could turn to free agency.
There is also a chance that the Astros have Kyle Tucker man center field. But with a lack of experience at the position as of late and there being better defensively ranged options out there, Houston could eye free agency.
When George Springer departed for new beginnings last winter, the Astros were linked to a few free agent center fielders including Jackie Bradley Jr. This offseason there aren’t too many All-Star options on the market, but three names could bolster the position.
If the Astros were to address the position this winter, then they could flip one of their three minor-league optionable outfielders. Although not linked to any free agent outfielder at the moment, there are viable options out there if Houston is looking.
Starling Marte was linked to the Astros this past summer, but could he finally make a splash in Houston this winter?
After being rumored as a trade target for the Astros in July, Starling Marte ended up with a different American League West club: the Oakland A’s. Marte made the biggest impact of any of their deadline acquisitions, slashing .316/.359/.466 in 56 games.
Marte’s first position is center field and would undoubtedly be an upgrade from the Astros’ three options right now. The right-hander made $12.5 million last season, while he couldn’t find an extension in Miami leading to him being traded.
The 33-year-old is one of the most underrated tooled players in baseball with his speed and defense matching his hit production. Marte would be another explosive bat for hitting coaches Alex Cintron and Troy Snitker to keep stable, but his value could eat up money that would go towards a new shortstop or starting pitcher.