The 2021-22 MLB offseason is a few weeks old and we’re still waiting for the first big move. That’s not uncommon – like the MLB season itself, the offseason is more of a marathon than a sprint – though the impending expiration of the competitive collective agreement throws a giant wrench in the hot oven. Still, the off-season of baseball is underway.
With that in mind, we’ll be exploring every potential off-season buyer’s wish list for the next few days and moving on with the Houston Astros. Let us begin.
You may have heard that Carlos Correa is a free agent. (In fact, CBS Sports ranked him the best free agent available earlier this winter.) The Astros have reportedly already made him an offer, but terms appear to be well below what he should get in the open market . He was reluctant to neglect Alex Bregman, but Houston’s best internal game right now would be Aledmys Díaz; that is obviously not possible. Top prospect (and potential Correa heir) Jeremy Peña was limited to 37 games last season due to injury, suggesting he won’t be ready until summer at the earliest. Houston is a safe choice to go outside of the organization for its opening day shortstop.
Wish list: Keeping Correa has to be number 1 on the list. If the Astros feel his claims are too high for their tastes, they could shift their focus to a budget-conscious option, with Trevor Story being the ideal candidate. Additionally, it’s possible that Peña’s imminent arrival will convince Houston that all they need is a stopgap type, à la Andrelton Simmons, whose weak bat wouldn’t serve as a great anchor given the quality of Houston’s rest of the line-up.
The Astros are set to lose veteran Zack Greinke to the free agency, and they have some concerns about the status of Lance McCullers Jr., given what happened in the postseason. Houston technically already has six starting mugs on its roster, namely Justin Verlander, McCullers, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, José Urquidy and Jake Odorizzi. You also have potential Hunter Brown prospects in the middle of the rotation approaching The Show, along with a number of back-end prospects that can be stored in Triple-A. The Astros should probably move a little higher as the market allows it over the course of the winter.
Wish list: Keeping Verlander was a wise decision. The two recently agreed on a $ 25 million one-year deal. Beyond him, it would haunt whether they would choose to meet Jon Gray, Dylan Bundy, or someone of the guy they think they can tease more of. Here’s a fun, if perhaps over-excited, suggestion: A swap for Tyler Glasnow wouldn’t offer instant help, but General Manager James Click knows him from their days together in Tampa Bay, and it’s the kind of bold move the Astros should be taking .
Click has tried several times over the past year to take action against Houston’s bullpen. He signed Pedro Báez and Ryne Stanek last winter, then switched to Kendall Graveman, Phil Maton and Rafael Montero during the season. Any contender is a surefire way to add a reliever or two in the off-season. The Astros Graveman and Brooks Raley could lose to the free agency are no exception.
Wish list: The Astros are likely to forego the top of the relief market in favor of some mid-range guys they like. That could lead them to add any number of results, from keeping Raley and Graveman, to coloring in less famous names like Mychal Givens or Daniel Norris that they think they can unlock something. The relief market is often just a game of musical chairs, so good luck with taking note of the exact names.