SAN DIEGO – The Astros landed the highest goal by a free agent – First baseman Jose Abreu –before coming into the Winter Meetings, they were hoping to sign free agent catcher Wilson Contreras, who reportedly ended up going to the Cardinals on a five-year deal on Wednesday.
The Astros remained aggressive despite being the only team in the winter meetings without a general manager, with assistant general managers Bill Firkus, Charles Cook and Andrew Paul leading the team unit in San Diego while owner Jim Crane and consultant Jeff Bagwell kept in touch while he was back there. Houston.
With the Winter Meetings over, there is still work to be done. The World Series champions have a stacked roster, but there are a few gaps that need to be addressed. Then there’s the general manager search, which Crane said will likely not take place until after the start of the new calendar year.
The biggest remaining needs
1. Left field: The Astros are still interested in bringing back free agent Michael Brantley for a fifth season in Houston, but that will depend on his health. Brantley, 35, is just getting started with baseball practice after undergoing an arthroscopic labral repair on his right shoulder in August. Astros They also showed interest In free agents Michael Conforto and Andrew Benintendi, a pair of left-handed bats can balance Houston’s predominantly right-handed lineup. Yordan Alvarez will get time to play left field but will get most of his batters on the DH.
2. The catcher: The club’s pursuit of Contreras showed just how serious the Astros were about improving their catching situation. Martín Maldonado, the current player, will return for another season, while Cristian Vasquez is a free agent. Maldonado struggled last season but is a reliable leader for a young talent team. Catching Prospects Corey Lee and Weiner Diaz may have to start in a Triple-A game if the Astros can land another run. Keep an eye on Oakland catcher Shaun Murphy, who could be in for a deal, though the asking price will be high.
3. Left-handed attenuator: Manager Dusty Baker’s desire for a left-handed reliever led to the Astros acquiring Will Smith from Atlanta at the trade deadline, but he was not used in the playoffs and is a free agent. The Astros have a massive base with right hands who can take out lefties. Baker still wants a left-hander or two in the mix to compete with Blake Taylor and Parker Moczynski in the bullpen.
Rule 5 draft
The Astros have not selected or lost a single player in the major league stage Article 5 drafteven though they’ve made four draft picks in the Little League stage.
GM’s auxiliary bottom line
The Astros aren’t done making moves, Crane said during Abreu’s Nov. 29 press conference, and said he’d be willing to move past Competitive credit tax Threshold to fill the remaining needs. Ferkus’ comments in San Diego echoed those sentiments.
“We’ve checked with every team in the last week and started those discussions here,” he said. “As you can imagine, there are a lot of discussions and transactions going on here. So yeah, we’re going to continue to do everything we can to try and come back next year. We’re going to do everything we can to improve this club: free agency, trade, claims. Concession… wherever we think we can improve this club.”
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