Ranking Potential Free Agent Signings for the Astros Headed Into Spring Training
Analyzing the available free agents for the Astros to target
With just a week to go before Spring Training, it's likely the Astros are rolling into next season with the pieces they have. Most of the pieces they have won them a World Series, though a few upgrades were added in the form of José Abreu and a reunion with a healthy Michael Brantley. It may be the trade deadline before we see a new player in an Astros uniform.
But if Houston were to make move and sign another still available free agent, these would be the five best fits.
5) Jurickson Profar
In terms of what they can bring to the table, Profar may be the best possible target for Houston. He is a clear upgrade over the incumbent utility man, Mauricio Dubón. If David Hensley holds down the infield, Profar could help in the outfield.
Profar has saved 10 runs in his career as a left fielder, but also could play the infield in a pinch or if Hensley isn't ready for a full season load in the big leagues yet. More appealing than his defense is his bat. Aside from an injury-riddled 2019 season for Aledmys Diaz, Houston hasn't had an abover-average utility piece since Marwin Gonzalez in 2019. Profar would be just that.
Since 2018, Profar is batting .241 with a .730 OPS. His 111 OPS+ was 11% better than the average big league hitter. He also posted a 110 WRC+ in 2022. This is far superior to the production the Astros received from the utility spot in 2022, as Diaz finished with a 95 OPS+ and
Dubón was a 40% below league average hitter, posting a 60 OPS+.
Additionally, his approach at the plate fits perfectly in the Astros' pass-the-baton approach, finishing 2022 in the 86th percentile in whiff rate, 85th percentile in walk rate, 84th in strikeout rate and 79th in chase rate.
So what gives? What may keep Profar out of Houston is his high asking price and desire to start every day. If he's willing to sign a short-term deal to win a ring and be a utility man, he's a no-brainer. As other teams leave him unsigned, he may take a prove-it deal before hitting free agency again next season.
If he does so, he should be an Astro. If not, four better options are on the table for Houston to target with their money.