Carlos Correa is in the group. So is Jose Altuve. Add George Springer and Dallas Keuchel to the mix.
Possibly Ken Giles and probably Luke Gregerson.
You can also include A.J. Hinch. Those guys are going nowhere.
Jason Castro may be close for 2016, but not a lock. Neither is Colby Rasmus nor Tyler White. Jose Valbuena? Possibly, but not in the group.
Though the Astros have a wealth of talent to start the season, there are only a few locks to be in Houston when mid-season rolls around. And, if you’re talking about September, well, that’s another conversation altogether.
No, while the organization is light years ahead of the Astros’ Dark Ages, the core is still small. The core being those players who are anchored in Houston and will be in an Astros’ uniform for some time. Here is that list, those players who would likely create a riot if they were traded during the 2016 season.
These guys wouldn’t necessarily create that riot, but they’d certainly draw boos and perhaps earn a tennis shoe throw at the TV!
- Lance McCullers.
- Collin McHugh.
- Ken Giles.
To be sure, other players are important to the success of the 2016 Astros. However, none should be considered locks to be here by season’s end. Some are in walk years, others haven’t performed and still others are unproven. Here are a few players who could be gone by the All Star break. Or at least relegated to a smaller role or even the minor leagues.
aDidn’t live up to his projection in Chicago. Hasn’t lived up to the promise in Houston yet. He’ll be a free agent after the season and it may no longer be his job to lose. Can you say Colin Moran by mid-season?
The Astros took a chance by offering the qualifying offer and Rasmus, indeed, was one of the pleasant surprises of 2015, especially down the stretch. If he hits and plays consistent left field, he could be a driving force in a stretch run. However, he could also yield a decent return at the trade deadline if the Astros have someone who’s ready to step in.
The Astros’ center fielder could possibly have a crazy good year. It is a walk year for him and the Astros aren’t likely to want to ante up the $100+ million he’ll demand/command. So do you simply slap the QO on him at season’s end and let him play out his contract? Or do you trade him at the break for a potential haul?
He’s looked good in the minors, he’s looked good in spring. Now that he has the job and he’s no longer the underdog, can he/will he keep it up? If not, he’ll be another in the long string of the journeymen, prospects, also-rans, and first basemen wannabes I mentioned yesterday.
There are many other players who could be on the market this summer. Scott Feldman, Jake Marisnick, even Marwin Gonzalez or you-pick-’em out of the bullpen. And, others who simply may not be in the mix beyond August, such as Tyler White or perhaps Evan Gattis or Mike Fiers even.
But it’s clear the Astros are still searching for those additional core players who will be in Houston for years to come. Is McCullers in the core already? Who else is most likely to join that core in 2016?