The MLB General Manager meetings in Phoenix in their third day and the Astros have a little smoke around them. Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan spoke with Houston’s GM Jeff Luhnow, noting that he would be open to signing a free agent with a qualifying offer attached. Luhnow expects for the Astros’ payroll increase compared to 2016.
Luhnow: "We're as ready as we ever have been to be aggressive and potentially be aggressive early in the offseason."— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) November 8, 2016
But it wasn’t free agents that made noise in the news cycles the past few days for the Astros. Fox Sports' Jon Morosi said Houston is pursuing Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion.
While the New York media is attempting to link the Astros with Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.
ICYMI: Source: Astros "hot" for free-agent DH Carlos Beltran. https://t.co/Df0HHuRx9D— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) November 9, 2016
Source: Yankees have found potential trade partner for Brian McCann https://t.co/dIAKXBKTJJ— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) November 9, 2016
All four of these players have serious red flags to attached to them when it comes to the Astros signing/trading for them.
First, the Astros seem like an easy target for the media to attach as a “darkhorse” for trade partners for teams trying to unload veteran talent. It makes sense. The Astros have young/controllable answers at almost every position on the diamond. Alex Bregman, Francis Martes, Derek Fister, and James Hoyt can seem like luxuries that Houston can part with since they the likes of Joe Musgrove and Yulieski Gurriel ready to fill in roles next season.
But are these the kind of players that Houston wants to give up for high-caliber but aging veterans? Cabrera, 33, has been dealing with a variety of injuries. The life for offensive-first catchers like McCann, 32, can be short.
These rumors seem more like teams trying hoping for the Astros to help the rebuild their farm system or replace a current star with a future like Bergman.
To throw more cold water on these rumors, how often does Jeff Luhnow work through the media? Rarely, if at all. We shall see.