Right after winning the World Series, as if he was a free agent, the Astros said goodbye to their general manager James Click and they’re now on the hunt for a man to fill the vacancy left by Click. To whomever occupies that role, adjusting the team going forward to 2023 will be the biggest short-term task after the departure of some key men to free agency.
What comes next is an immediate to-do list for the guy that takes over the GM role. Feel free to add assignments if you consider something is missing from the list. Originally, this article had a fourth task, which was getting a top-notch reliever or bring back Rafael Montero — I had to remove it because the Astros just re-signed Montero, though.
Let’s get down to business…
1. Trade for catching or outfield help
Days ago, it was reported that the Astros’ ownership said no at the last minute to a one-for-one trade that would have sent José Urquidy to the Cubs in exchange for star catcher Willson Contreras. However, a similar trade might be –and should be— around the corner for Houston during this off-season.
Though it’ll depend on what the front office does with Justin Verlander’s void in the starting rotation, the Astros will still have a good pitching depth. It seems that trading one of those pitchers –and Urquidy might be the odd man here again— is necessary to get outfield or catching help. For the Astros, the former is more urgent after Michael Brantley became a free agent.
2. Cover the huge hole at first base
With Yuli Gurriel gone to free agency and after the Astros declined Trey Mancini’s mutual option for 2023, they don’t have anyone to cover first base next year. Re-signing Gurriel for one more year or even bringing back Mancini on an adjusted deal might be viable options as well as acquiring someone via trade.
If the Astros prefer going after anyone else in the open market, there are some interesting names. Josh Bell was linked to the Astros before this year’s trade deadline, José Abreu keeps hitting and has the reputation of being a leader, Anthony Rizzo just put up a 32-homer campaign with the Yankees, and Brandon Belt had a .988 OPS in 148 games before his shaky 2022 season. The Astros are going to have a difficult decision to make.
3. Get back Aledmys Díaz or someone like him
In 2022, we saw how important having a guy like Aledmys Díaz is during a long 162-game regular season in which everything can happen. Díaz was as versatile as possible for Houston before hitting free agency. Díaz gave manager Dusty Baker well-needed flexibility around the field by replacing injured guys or resting the everyday players from time to time.
Speaking of versatility, Aledmys played first base (6), second base (22), third base (10), shortstop (18), left field (28), and right field (1). Every deep team has to have someone like him, who can provide some offense at the same time – Díaz was a .288/.333/.452 hitter with runners in scoring position. If it’s not him, then someone like him.
What do you think is the biggest need the Astros have to address before the 2023 season?
This poll is closed
Get catching/outfield help
Find a first baseman
Acquire a versatile utility player
Do you think something is missing here? Add it in the comments section and we’ll be reading what you have to say.