Off-Season Plans: Ideal Free Agents & Trade Targets (Part III of III)

If you’ve got tuned in to the primary two installments, expensive reader, you recognize that my Exile will not be secretly working the Astros. Just days after I wrote how working it again is a foul thought, the Astros head negotiator signed Montero for 3/34.5.

A couple of preliminary rules earlier than laying out some guidelines. The wage scale in baseball is simply bizarre. Compare it to basketball, the place Zion Williamson makes 10 million out of the gate. Top finish expertise makes about 20% extra in basketball, however Zion makes 15x greater than Kyle Tucker on his rookie contract. Which is to say, the pay hole between younger guys and vets is kinda steep in basketball, however insane in baseball. They key to having a robust roster in baseball, from 1 via 26, is that your again finish guys are good, and a few of your stars are low cost. The Astros can afford to pay Montero, perhaps their nineteenth Most worthy participant, 10 million AAV, however by doing in order that they restrict their capacity to pay different gamers to fill a gap.

Likewise, in buying and selling, you wish to commerce from a surplus. When the Astros traded Myles Straw, it wasn’t as a result of Straw is not any good; he is good. It’s as a result of that they had guys they thought may just do as nicely, however Straw was a confirmed MLB participant and had extra worth.

At the MLB degree, the Astros have one space of ​​surplus: beginning pitching. At the higher ranges of the minors, they’ve a surplus at catcher (each Korey Lee and Y Diaz are on the 40-man; and Luke Berryhill completed sturdy at Corpus), and so they have a surplus within the outfield, particularly CF (Meyers, Leon , Julks, Dirden). Of these gamers, solely Yainer and Lee have the type of worth that may deliver again an MLB participant increased than a Dubon-level twenty sixth man kind.

With Click out and Crane having larger say, the chances of re-signing JV are increased than they have been final week. If they do signal JV, they go into 2023 with 7 viable beginning pitchers. In 20 September innings, Hunter Brown regarded the half and posted a 1.98 FIP. Sorry, followers of depth, stashing Brown within the bullpen in case two starters go down is a large waste. If they create again JV, one of the opposite six must be traded for an MLB half.

Regarding the outfield, I do not suppose these holding again from a Chas Chomp understand how good McCormick is. Here are the CFs with greater than 400 PAs who posted a greater wRC+ than Chas: Trout, Judge, Rodriguez, Nimmo, Springer, Harris, Reynolds. That’s it; the entire record. Chas is a 3 WAR/yr participant, trending up. Those aren’t simple to return by, particularly on minimal salaries. If you do not consider he is a beginning heart fielder, then commerce him. Just as Christian Javier was too good to be a fifth-option bullpen man, so Chas is simply too good to be a 4th OF.

The Astros had sturdy participant performances all over the place however 1b and C.

Onto free-agents targets: the plain want is 1b/dh. There’s a notion in Houston that the Astros win with nice protection. I’d agree to some extent. The Astros catch the ball, however the guys with vary are Bregman, Pena, Tucker, and Chas. Yuli, particularly, is an effective glove with dangerous vary. But it could be that the Astros do not desire a much less dependable glove, which might rule out Josh Bell. A very good-fielding possibility could be Anthony Rizzo, who would even be one other left-handed bat. If they’re much less involved about handedness, Jose Abreu could be a pleasant possibility. Abreu would price round 2/40, resulting from his age. Rizzo at age 33 could be in demand three years at barely decrease AAV (perhaps 3/50). I’d fear whether or not the facility resurgence was a Yankee Stadium mirage although. Bell is a bizarre combine: an influence hitter with nice plate management who would not Ok a lot? That works in Houston. He’s solely 30 and a change hitter. But his fielding and working numbers look dangerous. Could he be somebody you play 80-ish video games at 1b and conceal at DH for 60-70 video games? That would require one other 1b. Internally, the Astros would possibly like Y Diaz’s bat sufficient to let him play some 1b. And if they need Hensley getting extra AB’s he is definitely athletic sufficient to cowl the place. They may, alternatively, signal Rizzo and Bell.

Or they might signal Rizzo and Contreras, the Cubs former catcher who simply declined a QO. Like Bell, he is solely 30 and offers good offense from an offensively-challenged place. He may DH 80 video games and catch 60. He’ll possible demand the longest dedication, one thing like 4/80. This signing makes rather a lot of sense (if the rumors that he is dangerous at dealing with pitchers are overblown) as he solves each the catcher and the DH downside. I do not suppose, after the Montero signing, that the Astros can signal JV, Rizzo, and Contreras. But they might signal Rizzo and Contreras and trot out a lineup like this:

  1. Altuve
  2. Tucker
  3. Bregman
  4. Alvarez
  5. Contreras
  6. Rizzo
  7. Pity
  8. Chas
  9. Maldy

Your bench, then, is Meyers, Hensley, Dubon, and perhaps a LH bat who can play across the area, like Adam Frazier or Grossman for one thing like 1/4.

On the pitching aspect, the Astros have 6 starters (in the event that they let JV stroll) and 6 dependable relievers (Pressly, Montero, Stanek, Neris, Abreu, Maton) plus Blake Taylor, JP France, Dubin, Blanco, Paredes, and so on.. If they return to a 5-man rotation, they want two relievers to get to eight, and it is sensible to signal or commerce for an inexpensive reliever they suppose can cross the baton. Otherwise, it is okay to enter ST and let final yr’s AAA arms compete for the ultimate spot.

If the Astros signal JV and resolve to commerce a surplus pitcher, it might make sense to dump Luis Garcia resulting from his worth. One out of the field thought could be to commerce him to the Jays for Kirk, the ill-bodied C/DH. The Jays have been catching for days and sufficient offense. They may promote excessive on Kirk & they sorely want pitching. Another potential goal is Nate Lowe of the Rangers, or, in the event that they needed to tackle extra money, LeMahieu of the Yankees (that might most likely demand one thing decrease, like Urquidy). At that time, although, I’d reasonably simply maintain the pitcher and signal Abreu for comparable cash.

Whom ought to the Astros be concentrating on in a commerce or free company? Let’s get the new range going! Oh, and I forgot so as to add, HOUSTON ASTROS, 2022 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIOOONNNSSSSS!!!!!

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