Astros Eyeing Left-Handed Hitting Corner Outfielders

The Astros have already crossed one merchandise off their to-do checklist this winter, re-signing setup man Rafael Montero to a three-year pact. They reportedly had sturdy curiosity within the first baseman Anthony Rizzo earlier than he re-signed with the Yankees, and whereas they nonetheless have a gap at first base, they’re additionally out there for a left-handed-hitting nook outfielder, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Outfield assistance is a pure goal for the Astros, who noticed Michael Brantley went down with a season-ending shoulder damage this summer time (which finally required surgical procedure). He’s now a free agent, leaving the Astros’ projected outfield combine consisting of proper fielder Kyle Tuckerheart discipline choices Chas McCormick and Jake Meyersand designated hitter/occasional left fielder Yordan Alvarez.

The 25-year-old Alvarez did log a career-high 467 innings in left discipline this season, and if the crew had been to decide to enjoying him extra often there, the search may develop to incorporate lefty-swinging nook outfielders and designated hitters. That mentioned, Alvarez has had a number of knee surgical procedures up to now, regardless of his youth, so it is wise sufficient if the crew prefers to restrict his time on the sphere to assist preserve his bat within the lineup.

Brantley himself would ostensibly be an possibility, in fact. He mentioned late within the season that he expects to be prepared for Spring Training, and if that is the case, there aren’t many higher bets within the “skilled hitter” class than the five-time All-Star. Over the previous 5 seasons, Brantley has batted a mixed .307/.367/.465 with 57 residence runs, 134 doubles and eight triples in 2240 plate appearances. He’s fanned in simply 10.6% of these journeys to the plate and walked at an eight p.c clip as effectively.

Generally talking, it isn’t an important free-agent marketplace for outfielders this winter. Aaron Judgein fact, is the highest free agent, whereas heart fielder Brandon Nimmo ranks a distant second. Beyond that pair, there are many choices to peruse, however the majority include some extent of crimson flag.

If Houston prefers to pursue a youthful possibility, any of Andrew Benintendi, Cody Bellinger p Joey Gallo may make sense — though the latter two are notably depending on Houston’s urge for food for taking up a rebound candidate. Both Gallo and Bellinger have seen their as soon as prodigious offensive profiles tank in latest seasons. Bellinger is probably going out there on a one-year deal as he appears to be like to rebuild some inventory. Benintendi, in the meantime, noticed his season finish on Sept. 2 as a consequence of a damaged hamate bone. Masataka Yoshidastar outfielder for Japan’s Orix Buffaloes, will reportedly be posted for MLB golf equipment, however whether or not his excellent manufacturing in NPB will carry over to MLB is a complete unknown at this level.

Alternatives embrace longtime D-backs outfielder David Peraltanow-former Padres left fielder Prof. Jurickson and well-traveled Corey Dickerson. Peralta is 35 and coming off a tepid end to the 2022 season with the Rays. Profar’s age, bat-to-ball abilities and former prospect standing may all be interesting, however a .237/.331/.364 slash over the previous two seasons is not notably eye-catching. Dickerson has had related manufacturing however in a part-time position and is three years older.

The commerce market, in fact, presents myriad alternatives. The division-rival Mariners had been recognized to be exploring trades involving Jesse Winker earlier this month. Minnesota’s Max Kepler is an oft-speculated commerce candidate this winter, and switch-hitters Ian Happ (Cubs) Anthony Santander (Orioles) had been each mentioned by their respective golf equipment within the weeks main as much as this previous summer time’s commerce deadline.

Whatever path the ‘Stros take, some extent of outfield addition seems like a foregone conclusion. The 26-year-old Meyers hit simply .227/.269/.313 in his return from final offseason’s shoulder surgical procedure. McCormick, 27, posted strong general numbers, however the overwhelming majority of his manufacturing got here in opposition to left-handed pitchers; he hit .340/.409/.563 in opposition to southpaws however solely .207/.301/.344 in opposition to fellow righties. Tucker, Meyers, McCormick, Alvarez and utilityman Mauricio Dubon are the one outfielders on the 40-man roster at current. Tucker and Alvarez are the one left-handed hitters who’re locked into lineup spots.

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