The Houston Astros re-signed Justin Verlander last week on a one-year deal worth $25 million, along with a player option. The rotation now has seven major-league options to look to for the 2022 season, and while the Astros could shop one of the arms, they have other needs to meet this offseason.
Those being at shortstop and possibly center field with their linkage to Starling Marte. More recently, the Astros have also been reported in talks with middle infielder, Marcus Semien, who finished top-three in the American League MVP voting.
With the pitching market already in full force, pitchers like Verlander and Noah Syndergaard made more money than the qualifying offer ($18.4 million). These two pitchers could be examples for how much money Marcus Stroman wants to make this offseason as a high-end starter.
The current Competitive Balance Threshold is $210 million, but that number could change with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming to Major League Baseball this offseason. With $210 in mind, the Astros are currently at $162 million according to FanGraphs. This number could change with other signings and the anticipation of saving money for the trade deadline in 2022.
With the CBT in play and the Astros looking to fill other needs, Marcus Stroman’s compliments might not be enough.
Of all free agents, Stroman might be the most active with fans on social media. Recently, the pitcher praised Astros’ fans, among other fanbases, for their interactions on Twitter with him. On a public relations standpoint and with an All-Star level ceiling, Stroman is a great package for the Astros with his arm and his name alone.
But, Stroman does have a past with tearing into the Astros’ players for the 2017 cheating scandal, except for when the Astros were running through the postseason. The 30-year-old took to Twitter, as usual, to praise the Astros’ offense and mention he has moved on from 2017.
After opting out of the 2020 season, Stroman returned in the 2021 season at full strength with 33 games pitched, led all of the major leagues. The right-hander had a 3.02 ERA and a 7.9 strikeout per nine innings, while he gets more outs in play.
If the Astros were to reel him in, Stroman would likely pitch behind Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr., who finished seventh in American League Cy Young voting, in the rotation, maybe even Framber Valdez. But in the end, his market value might not be the biggest upgrade from the Astros’ choices.
When comparing Stroman to Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia, Stroman’s ERA was a few clicks better than Urquidy (3.62) and Garcia (3.48), but both of these hurlers, who have different pitch styles, they are still under team control. Urquidy battled injury and Garcia just finished his rookie season, finishing second in American League Rookie of the Year voting, so the Astros could likely stick to their guns with their homegrown names.
Stroman would increase the Astros chances of contention, but with his past and his market value, there are more concerns on the roster when looking at a replacement for Carlos Correa, finishing the bullpen and possibly adding a center fielder.