3 pending free agents the Astros need to let walk and 1 they need to keep

The Houston Astros a few pending free agents that they shouldn't bother to bring back next season.

Jun 24, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA;  Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley (23) at Yankee
Jun 24, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley (23) at Yankee / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Michael Brantley's time with the Astros should come to an end

This is a tough one because no one really knows yet what Michael Brantley is going to look like as he gets further and further away from the shoulder surgery that keep Brantley out for most of the season. His rehab did go well once he was playing regularly, but Brantley also experienced setbacks in even getting his rehab started which is not the best sign when it comes to his long-term health and production.

This is not a question of talent because all Astros fans know that when Brantley is right, he can just flat out hit. However, he is also already 36 years old and coming off a major surgery that may or may not severely impact him going forward. There is a world where Brantley goes wild the rest of the season and the Astros give him another short-term deal as long as the terms are reasonable. However, anything short of that should mean that Houston moves on from him as he just carries too much risk, is too old, and will probably cost too much to find out if he can be the guy he used to be again.

The Astros need to find a way to keep Phil Maton

On the bright side, one pending free agent that the Astros should absolutely try to keep after this season is Phil Maton. Some may be wondering why Hector Neris isn't on this list, but he has a club option for 2024 worth $8.5 million. (EDIT: At least it WAS a club option until Neris hit 110 appearances with the Astros. It is now a player option and for those wondering, yes....the Astros should absolutely try to keep him if he declines that new player option if he doesn't cost TOO much). Maton makes a compelling case to stay around thanks to the combination of probable cost and his value to the Astros' bullpen.

Maton doesn't light up the radar gun like some of his contemporaries, but he checks basically every other box you want from a reliever. He does walk some guys, but not so many as to give everyone heartburn when he takes the mound. His ability to limit hard contact is absolutely elite and his curveball has been borderline unhittable for a couple years now.

While Maton isn't the sexiest reliever in the world, the guy has just consistently put up results and missed bats during his time in Houston. He isn't worth ponying up a lot of money for, but he shouldn't cost that as a 7th/8th guy with limited upside. This is the kind of reliever that you keep so that the team can spend to build the roster elsewhere.

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