After all the decisions were made last night at the non-tender deadline, we're left with 43 new free agents. Let's take a quick tour of them to see who might fit into Houston's future plans now. This isn't a comprehensive list, so feel free to throw out your own names and justifications in the comments.
Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks - If Houston was in on Josh Johnson as reports last night indicated, they aren't opposed to taking chances on injury risks. Rarely do injury reclamation projects have the upside of Hudson, who was legitimately great before losing the past two seasons to a second Tommy John surgery.
There's a chance that Hudson never makes it back to form and there's a greater chance that he stays in familiar surroundings with the Diamondbacks. But, with his age (26) and performance long ago, he has what very few free agents possess: upside. I'd be much more comfortable giving him a two-year deal than either Scott Kazmir or Bartolo Colon.
John Axford, Cardinals - This former closer even tweeted about his pending non-tender in a cheeky nod to his impending fate. There will be a job waiting for Axford down the line and it might even be as a closer. Axford has always possessed good strikeout numbers, but the past two years fell victim to the longball.
He's not a groundball guy, but if he can see his home run rates regress a little back to his early career numbers, he should be a great late inning reliever again. He's also an easy choice to close in Houston, as he'd most likely take a one-year deal with a guaranteed closing role.
Chris Coghlan, Marlins - I do not want to advocate Houston signing this former Rookie of the Year. But, have you seen his platoon splits? Coghlan would make a fine left-handed side of a platoon who could hit for more power than most of those left-handed sides I discussed on Monday.
However, the glaring problem with Coghlan is he has no position. He's been a terrible outfielder for years now, even on the corners, so you couldn't expect him to just fit in in right field. That's why it's unlikely he gets picked up, but his platoon splits make him interesting.
Jerome Williams, Angels - This is one clack championed as a swingman. Williams hasn't been terrible in the past two years for the Angels, he just hasn't been good. In fact, on the 2013 Astros, he damn near would have been the best pitcher on the team.
So, why would they want him in 2014? Well, even if he doesn't have the stuff to make the rotation, he could be valuable in a swingman role, like Edgar Gonzalez could have been used in or Erik Bedard might have been used in. Plus, he'd come relatively cheap for an innings-eater.
Ronald Belisario, Dodgers - Talking up relievers in the past few days has been all the rage. Well, it's been the rage with me and reillocity, who did a much more in-depth study than I have done by just randomly going to FanGraphs and looking at relievers. However, if you like Jim Johnson, Belisario might be the best candidate yet.
Belisario was non-tendered by the Dodgers because he's older and L.A. has a ton of high-cost relief options. However, with an elite ground ball rate and okay strikeout numbers, Belisario could provide exactly what Johnson did for the Orioles at a fraction of the cost.