It appears that after signing Josh Hader to a record-breaking deal, the Houston Astros are feeling their oats. Houston GM Dana Brown told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that the Astros are still seeking a left-handed bat, preferably and outfielder, with speed.
While there are a lot of left-handed hitters still available on the free agent market, those other two caveats are not as prolific. Finding an outfielder with speed from the current crop of free agents isn't quite as easy as it sounds.
After dropping $95 million on Hader, the Astros aren't going to shell out the $200 million-plus Cody Bellinger is seeking, and players like Jesse Winker, Dominic Smith, and Joc Pederson aren't going to win many foot races. But the Astros do have a few free agent targets who might fit their criteria, and there's a potential trade target as well.
1. Eddie Rosario
Eddie Rosario was named the NLCS MVP a little over two years ago, but a lot has changed since he and the Atlanta Braves knocked off the Houston Astros to claim the 2021 World Series. While Rosario played great in the National League Championship Series that year, it's been a bit of a fall from grace ever since.
After posting a 1.647 OPS in that six-game series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rosario's career has taken a turn for the worse. The past two seasons, Rosario's managed to play in 222 games and has posted a slash line of just .240/.289/.408. But perhaps an eye issue, which has since been surgically corrected, could have been the biggest culprit for the downturn in production.
After losing Michael Brantley, the Astros have a void in left field. That's a position that Rosario plays well enough despite having a below-average arm. But if it's speed the Astros are targeting, Rosario's 27.9 feet per second ranked among the 65th percentile in the league last season according to Baseball Savant.
Looking for a bounce-back year, Eddie Rosario may be willing to take a one-year prove-it deal in order to reestablish his value ahead of next offseason. There may be better options available in free agency, but the Astros should not dismiss Rosario, who's still just 32 years old.