For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.
I take a dive into the AL West… one of the most puzzling divisions in the entire MLB. The Astros are really good, we get that… but the A’s seem to compete every year, the Mariners decide to miss the playoffs every year, the Angels have no pitching every year, and the Rangers are just horrid.
Top FA Targets:
- Yasmani Grandal, C
The Astros aren’t going into the season with Max Stassi as their starting catcher… and unless they want to lose a couple top prospects in a trade with the Marlins, they would be wise to hit the free agent market. Grandal is great defensively and would probably do well in that stadium and with that pitching staff.
- Nelson Cruz, RF/DH
With a glaring need at DH and money to spend, grab the best DH available! It would likely be a 2 year commitment and get him off the books before Bregman and company get really expensive.
- Michael Brantley, LF
As I chose in my 2018-2019 Presidente’s MLB Offseason Free Agent Predictions, I think Brantley is a fit in HOU. His bat would play well in Houston and he could be one of the bargains of the offseason. Plug him into LF for Marwin Gonzalez and give him some at-bats at DH to keep him fresh, and you may have another stud bat in the lineup for a few years.
- Nathan Eovaldi, SP
The Astros have a knack for getting starting pitchers to reach their potential… and Eovaldi could be the next one. He showed glimpses in BOS and won’t command the money Corbin/Keuchel will. They may go with a cheaper option (like they did when they snagged Morton years ago), but Eovaldi would be a good fit with Cole and Verlander hitting free agency after the 2019 season.
- Wilson Ramos, C
Ramos would be an intriguing option too if they don’t want to go to the length or dollars it may take to sign Grandal. Or maybe they sign both? Grandal has had some reps at 1B and I’d assume Ramos could figure it out there too. Keep everyone fresh and positional versatility is the Astros way.
Top 3 Trade Possibilities:
- Astros trade RF Josh Reddick and RP Joe Smith to the Phillies for 1B Carlos Santana & $10M cash
The Phillies want/need to move Carlos Santana and the 2 years and ~$42M remaining on his contract and the Astros are looking for some pop at 1B/DH. Reddick and Smith are set to take home about $21M in 2019 (with Reddick due another $13M in 2020). The cash included offsets some of the costs for HOU and gives them a solid option at 1B/DH for a couple years.
- Astros trade 1B Yuli Gurriel to the White Sox for RF Avisail Garcia
Nothing flashy here… but the Astros have wanted Garcia in the past and he is on the brink of being non-tendered… but Gurriel doesn’t mesh with the Astros offense and could be a useful piece for the Astros to convince Abreu (fellow Cuban) to stay.
- Astros trade OF Derek Fisher and prospects 1B/OF Seth Beer (#7) and J.B. Bukauskas (#8) to the Cardinals for SP Michael Wacha & OF Harrison Bader
It wouldn’t be a real offseason without the Cardinals trading a young OF (i.e. Grichuk, Piscotty, or Pham midseason), so here they unload Bader for a nice haul to free up playing time for an O’Neill/Fowler/Ozuna 2019 with Jose Martinez, Kolton Wong, and the now acquired Derek Fisher to supplement them. For the Astros, they get a 3rd starting pitcher entering a walk year (with Cole and Verlander) and a young centerfielder capable of holding the spot down for at least the next 5 years.
- Astros trade 1B Tyler White & prospect LF Kyle Tucker (#1) to the Marlins for C J.T. Realmuto & SP Jose Urena
The Marlins aren’t going to get the haul they would’ve last year for Realmuto… but they didn’t get a haul for anyone last year because their front office is more concerned with the bottom line than talent on the field. As evident by the return for Marcell Ozuna and 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich. The Marlins would do well here in getting the #5 prospect in all of baseball and a useful player in White. For the Astros, Jose Urena has talent but will never harness it in MIA. With 3 years of team control remaining, he could easily be a useful #3/4 in HOU. Obviously, the real prize for HOU here is Realmuto, who has 2 years left of team control and would bring some offense to a position that has been pretty underwhelming the past few years.