FanPost

The 2014 Astros: A Realistic Look at What We Might Expect: Part IV: The Rest of the Story

Its been over three weeks since I started this series of Fan Posts and I am quite happy with the response level generated so far. With the signing of Feldman and the trade that landed Fowler our 40MR currently stands at 37. To be sure a lot has happened since November 14, but there are still a few more things to look at before the season starts.

First let me say that eating Crow is not that bad. When marinated in good quality Bourbon for a week it has a certain mellowness to it. Seriously, I clearly was wrong in assuming that our FA spending would not exceed $10M. We currently are at $17.5M and the indicators are that we will exceed $20M and could get to $25M-30M. Time will tell where we end up. What this does however, is open up the discussion of what is realistic to include some of the moves that IMO were out of the question three weeks ago. That is not to say that all moves are realistic. For example, I still believe that adding Choo is not on the radar.

Let's look at where we are now starting with the infield. Except for the loss of Jake Elmore to the White Sox and the claim of Ryan Jackson (2B, SS, 3B) off waivers from St. Louis, we are no different. The same is true with regard to the catcher and DH spots. Is there an opportunity to upgrade the IF? I believe that we are set for starters at 2B, 3B and C so let's look at 1B and SS for possibilities. One group of infielders that are still "on the board" include: C. Hart, J. Loney, K. Morales, M. Napoli and S. Drew. I don't see adding any of them as realistic. Another group is: J. Baker, Y. Betancourt, C. Kotchman, L. Overbay, C. Pena, M. Reynolds, C. Tracy, T. Wigginton, K. Youkilis, C. Barmes and J. Carroll. Several of these guys could be considered but frankly, I am not that thrilled about adding any of them so I actually think we will stand pat with Wallace, Carter and Villar in the infield going into ST. I would support signing a couple of guys to minor league contracts with invites and waiting to see what happens in March.

The OF has been reshaped. Fowler is in center. Barnes is gone and JD was sent down. We have Grossman, Hoes and Krauss to patrol the rest of the OF. IMO, there is room to add another OF. Some of the names to consider are: J. Kubel, N. McLouth, M. Morse, D. Young, R. Davis, F. Gutierrez, G. Sizemore and T. Colvin. Of this group my personal favorites are: McLouth, Morse, Davis and Colvin. There are many other OF still on the board.

The rotation is now Feldman, Cosart, Ober, Peacock and either Harrell or Keuchel. I don't see that changing through the addition of another FA. Who knows, I could be wrong again. One of these guys has to go somewhere.

The pen has not changed at all. The talk is that it will change in the next week or so and I believe it will. We will certainly add a closer or a guy that has closer potential. It could be Veras, Crain, Axford, Gregg, Perez or Rodney. I can also see the possibility of adding a reliever like Flaherty or Chamberlain. Most if not all of the non-closer spots are likely to be taken with some grouping of returning guys (Fields, Lo, Chapman, Clemens, Cisnero, Zeid, Martinez and Cruz).

Let's also remember that the R5 draft is next week. I expect we will take a relief pitcher with the 1.1 pick and wouldn't be surprised to see us take a second pick like we did last year with the 2.1. My favorite right now is Hartley, from the Cubs. I also like Lewis (NYY) and Lollis (SD).

We are also anxiously awaiting the name of the PTBNL in the Fowler deal. My hope is Rosell Herrera, a SS that has both pop and speed. He hasn't been in their system that long (LoA in 2013).

I haven't taken into consideration additional trades that could be made that would change things dramatically. The most likely would see Wallace dealt in combination with a prospect or two to get a significant bat.

Lastly, thanks to all of you for adding your comments to the previous posts. I started this series to make the Hot Stove a bit more interesting when we were in a non-active "fan-slump". As of now this is the only Fan Post that I will update. The other three are being DFA'd!

Thoughts????

UPDATE 1: 12/6: Nationals sign N. McLouth: 2 years, 10.75M

UPDATE 2: 12/7: Napoli: 2y/$32M, Kuroda: 1y/$16M, Beltran: 3y/$45M

UPDATE 3: 12/7: Chad Qualls signed by Houston: 2 years, $6M with club option for year 3 of $3.5M.

UPDATE 4: 12/10: Rajah Davis signs with Detroit: 2 years, $9-10M

UPDATE 5: 12/10: B. Anderson traded to Colorado for D. Pomerantz and C. Jensen. Trumbo to Arz., Eaton to CWS, Skaggs and H. Santiago to LAA.

UPDATE 6: 12/11: Corey Hart to Seattle, 1 year, Logan Morrison traded from Miami to Seattle for RH reliever Carter Capps, LH reliever J. Blevins traded from Oakland to Nationals for speedster Billy Burns.

UPDATE 7: Volquez signs with Pirates, 1 year $5M. We get A. Bass from SD and a PTBNL for a PTBNL. Colon to Mets, 2 years $20M.

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