4 difficult roster decisions the Houston Astros must address ASAP

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The backend of the Astros' bullpen needs some work

Now we are getting to an area that basically every team in the league could use and that is bullpen depth. Again, the Houston bullpen has been very good this year as they have a collective 3.70 ERA and 3.69 FIP in 2023, so this isn't an emergency situation whatsoever. Phil Maton, Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressley have formed into a very able core of relievers that most teams would love to have.

However, the last couple of slots in the bullpen could be improved a bit as Rafael Montero has been getting torched lately and Seth Martinez also leaves something to be desired in the consistency department. Is having a bullpen full of elite relief guys a reasonable expectation? No, but there are a couple of spots here that could use some upgrades especially if Houston starts to struggle covering innings with the rotation.

Fortunately, the trade market is going to be very robust when it comes to bullpen arms like it is every year. Among the rental types, Aroldis Chapman is likely to get the most attention, although Keynan Middleton is interesting as well from the White Sox. The Royals' Scott Barlow is going to be in demand at the deadline, but he is a guy that would come with an extra year of team control if Houston chose to go that route.

Houston needs to find a short and long-term solution at catcher

Catcher is a position is going to have to address before too long because while the organization has had a seemingly unshakeable attachment to Martin Maldonado, that is becoming untenable. Not only has he largely been a poor offensive player for the vast majority of his career, but he has been getting worse and worse defensively to the point where he has become a liability for the Astros.

If Framber Valdez needs Maldonado to be his personal catcher for whatever reason, that is probably fine for now. However, at the very least the time share between Maldonado and Yainer Diaz needs to change in Diaz's favor. Diaz is the better hitter by a mile and while he probably doesn't know the pitching staff quite as well as Maldonado, he is still grading out as a better defender than him right now.

A trade for a catcher at the deadline is possible, although catcher is one of those positions that is hard to change midseason. If the Rockies wanted to part with Elias Diaz, he could be interesting as a guy with multiple years of control although he would be expensive given the quality of his bat. If the Astros decided to actually part ways with Maldonado altogether and give Diaz the lion's share of the time at catcher, then maybe a guy like Yan Gomes is an option.

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