As more and more free agent power rankings are released, it seems like fewer and fewer players are linked to the Houston Astros. Houston has never been a big spender, and Jim Crane doesn't exactly love exceeding the CBT, but can a team with seven straight ALCS trips under their belt really be that inactive in free agency?
Here are 4 under the radar free agent targets for the Astros
Aside from the José Abreu signing last off-season, which wasn't exactly a home run, Houston rarely makes a splash in free agency. With a bullpen to rebuild, a backup catcher to find, and a left-handed bat to land, Houston does have some areas of need.
If the Astros are going to improve this off-season, there is a very real chance it is done via under the radar moves that add depth and make marginal improvements. They were sorely lacking in depth both on their bench and in their rotation last year, so small moves could go a long way. Let's look at moves they could make.
#1 Brent Suter
The Astros have to rebuild their bullpen offseason. Hector Neris, Phil Maton and Ryne Stanek are all free agents. They need some mid-leverage arms, and Brent Suter is as good as it gets on the free agent market. We were in on the Astros trading for Suter at the deadline, and are in on him as a free agent signing this offseason.
His Statcast metrics are a thing of beauty. The lefty junkballer (first percentile fastball velocity) blows up bats and limits hard contact. He won't rack up strikeouts, but he keeps the ball on the ground and limits the damage.
He'd be similar to a Phil Maton in that he's not going to be your "break glass in case of emergency" leverage arm, but he is dependable in the fifth, sixth, and even seventh innings.
He actually had reverse splits this season, limiting righties to a .585 OPS and allowing lefties to hit .284 with a .792 OPS.
Over eight years, Suter has a 3.49 career ERA and 3.91 FIP. He just finished a year in the notoriously hitter friendly Coors Field and posted a 3.38 ERA. If you can get outs there, you can get outs anywhere.
Suter would be a huge asset in the Astros bullpen.