The day after the World Series ends the Hot Stove season, and free agency, begins for baseball. If you want all the nuances of this time period including when guys eligible for the Rule 5 need to be added to the roster and so on, check out the important dates post Anthony did towards the end of the season.
The Astros have said that they are willing to spend money this offseason and proved that by being one of the finalists in the Jose Abreu sweepstakes. Their biggest need is pitching and luckily there are plenty of interesting names among starters and relievers. I wanted to turn this into a series of posts, however, the list just got too big and it would have required more time than I have so instead I've decided to release the full list for discussion purposes.
I am attempting to keep the list up to date, but I realize stuff falls through the cracks. If you see any names that should be taken off leave a comment below. Likewise, if you see a player that should be added leave a comment below.
Notes and Thoughts:
- I ignored second base and catcher because the Astros appear to be set there with Jose Altuve at second and Jason Castro and Max Stassi at catcher.
- I love the idea of going after Ben Zobrist, but it's a pretty sure bet the Rays will exercise his option.
- I like the idea of signing a Brendan Ryan or Clint Barmes to backup Jonathan Villar. Brendan Ryan, especially, is a guy I'd like to see backing up Villar. Ryan doesn't have to start, but he's not a bad option if Villar struggles either. He should also come at reasonable price. I expect his offense to bounce back a little, though it'll still be well below average. The real concern is whether or not his defense bounces back. Ryan played with the Cardinals from 2007-2010 so the Luhnow connection is there.
- Among relief pitchers I like: Scott Downs, Brian Wilson, Francisco Rodriguez, Grant Balfour, Joe Nathan, Joe Smith, and Matt Belisle ($4.25MM mutual option). That's not to say I wouldn't be happy with the other guys, these are just the guys that stick out to me.
- Among starters I like: Colby Lewis, Masahiro Tanaka, Ricky Nolasco, Suk-Min Yoon and Paul Maholm. Again, that's not to say I wouldn't be thrilled with some of the other guys on the list.
- Curtis Granderson is one of my favorite players in baseball, a lot of that has to do with his character. Unfortunately, I don't see the Astros signing him.
- Lance Berkman? Yes, please!
- This is a very old and weak free agent class. Impact players are going to be expensive and to get good free agents to come to Houston will require the Astros to be creative or overpay.