The Houston Astros didn't make any major decisions at the MLB Winter Meetings. However, to keep up with the Texas Rangers in the AL West, there are moves to come. Houston's rotation and outfield are pain points, as Justin Verlander is another year older and Houston lacks an answer in center field.
Expect the Astros to be active at some point this offseason. Once Dana Brown decides what he wants, he tends to act on it. Such is the life of an MLB general manager.
Despite the Astros previous interest in Cody Bellinger at the MLB Trade Deadline, they've been radio silent on his radar this offseason. Bellinger's asking price is said to be high, and he'll have plenty of suitors assuming he comes down from his rumored $250 million price tag.
The MLB Winter Meetings were quiet. Since then, Shohei Ohtani has signed, thus opening the floodgates. Here's what to expect.
The Houston Astros did sign a new backup catcher at the MLB Winter Meetings, essentially saying goodbye to Martin Maldonado at the same time. Maldonado has struggled at the plate for some time now. He hits under the Mendoza line, and for that reason he is a liability in the Houston lineup. As great as Maldonado has been at times in managing the pitching staff, it's not worth having a black hole in your lineup, especially since his numbers will likely only go down in that department as he ages.
Yainer Diaz is the expected starter with the Astros. He hit just over .280 last season. Houston signed Victor Caratini, previously from the Milwaukee Brewers, to back him up. There isn't much room on the roster for Maldonado at this point. Red Sox star Rafael Devers has recruited Maldonado via social media as well. Christopher Kline wrote about this possibility just a few days ago.
"It's also fair to question whether or not the Red Soxshouldtarget Maldonado, whose reputation far exceeds his output at this stage of his career. Maldonado's ability to connect with pitchers and call a game has undeniable value, but he's mostly ineffective at the plate. He slashed .191/.258/.348 with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs in 362 AB last season. There's still some pop behind his swing, but Maldonado's inability to consistently make contact and get on base in a sizable strike against him," Kline wrote.
The Astros can do better than Maldonado offensively, period.
Forrest Whitley used to be among the top prospects in all of baseball. Back in 2019, the Astros would have never dreamed of trading him. Whitley was lined up to be their ace of the future. However, injuries changed everything.
Whitley still has plenty of potential in his mid-20's, and for that reason he is a trade asset. If Houston wants to upgrade, trading an MLB-ready starting pitcher in this pitcher-friendly market makes a lot of sense. Dana Brown has said how excited he is for Whitley to enter spring training healthy. Yet, if he wants to trade for a top-tier starter or outfielder, his best bet is including Whitley in the deal. Houston's farm system is barren.
"I'm excited about [Whitley] coming into camp," Brown said in Nashville. "I think we have a need in the 'pen and we're just going to use him out of the bullpen. He has a real chance."
If Houston holds onto him, they will give Whitley a real chance in part because they don't have many other options. That alone should be a reason to trade him.
I believe Dana Brown when he says he doesn't want to trade Alex Bregman. I believe the Astros when they say they want to extend Bregman. However, what I don't believe is that the two sides will meet in the middle.
Bregman is a Scott Boras client, meaning he will want top value, as he should. Entering his age-30 season, Bregman will be at the tail end of his prime. Giving him a five-to-seven year extension isn't a good idea. As a corner infielder, Bregman is replaceable in time. The main issue in Houston is that they do not have one in the farm system. Astros fans have been clamoring for extensions involving Bregman and Jose Altuve all offseason. As FanSided's Curt Bishop wrote, Houston fans cannot be happy with recent developments.
"Following their World Series title run in 2022, the Astros fell short in the ALCS against the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers. But after eight fantastic seasons in Houston, Bregman is entering the final year of his contract, meaning he will be a free agent at the end of the 2024 season.
Bregman has been fan favorite in Houston. However, a recent report from Bob Nightengale suggests that the Astros are prepared to lose the star third baseman in free agency next offseason."
With Bregman on the outs, it would make sense to trade him with a full season left on his deal, especially given the current holes on the roster.
This article was originally published on fansided.com as 3 Astros who won't be back after surviving MLB Winter Meetings.2023-12-10T23:09:45Z dg43tfdfdgfd