Ranking the Top Potential Free Agent Signings for the Astros

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Willson Contreras
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1) Willson Contreras

The Astros had a now-infamous deadline deal in place for Willson Contreras before Jim Crane and Dusty Baker shot down the trade. Baker didn't feel it was worth three years of team control of Jose Urquidy for a rental contract that wouldn't play daily.

The Astros won their ring anyways, and should now jump on Contreras with the opportunity to do so presenting itself again. The former Cub is one of, if not the best, hitting catchers in the MLB. He finished the 2022 season with a .243 batting average, an .815 OPS and a 128 OPS+. Contreras carries an .808 career OPS.

His expected numbers also jump off the page, finishing in the 94th percentile in xwOBA, 90th percentile in hard hit rate and 85th in xSLG. The 3x All-Star consistently squares the baseball up and would do a great deal of damage in a park like Minute Maid with the protection the rest of the Astros' lineup provides.

Contreras would likely be the primary DH in Houston. Martín Maldonado's impact on the pitching staff cannot be spoken of enough, so he would likely catch the majority of innings, with Contreras behind the plate every 3-4 days. Like Maldonado, Contreras has experience catching a World Series rotation, so the Astros could do far worse with a backup backstop.

Houston's reign of terror in the AL has mostly been on the backs of an overpowering offense and a dominant rotation. The 2022 team won the World Series with a good offense, excellent rotation and an indescribably dominant bullpen. With six starters still under contract and the bullpen coming back fully in tact, signing Contreras would merge the styles of play, giving the Astros a lineup that can mash and a stable of arms that are borderline untouchable.

Adding Contreras would give the Astros a possible Opening Day lineup resembling this:
2B Jose Altuve
SS Jeremy Peña
LF Yordan Alvarez
3B Alex Bregman
RF Kyle Tucker
DH Willson Contreras
1B Christian Walker/Yuli Gurriel
CF Chas McCormick
C Martín Maldonado

That's a team that will score runs in bunches backed with a pitching staff that will keep crooked numbers off the board. That's a recipe for success.

The Astros will celebrate Opening Day 2023 with the unveiling of their gold championship pennant and their World Series Rings. If they sign Willson Contreras this offseason, go ahead and book Opening Day 2024 for a repeat of the championship festivities.

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