Future Astros part 2: Three-year look ahead at 2020


The other day Chipalatta took a look at what the roster transition from 2018 to 2019 might look like.

https://chipalatta.com/2018/07/05/future-astros-three-year-look-ahead-part-1-2019/

Today we go farther out on the limb, looking at what might happen between 2019 and 2020.

Free Agents

The following players could become free agents after the 2019 season:

Arbitration

The following players will face arbitration if they cannot come to some other agreement with the team after the 2019 season:

Here is a shot at how the roster might look in 2020 and then a discussion…..

POSITION 2019 2019 Salary 2020 2020 Salary
1B YULI GURRIEL $10.4MM YORDAN ALVAREZ $600 K
2B ALTUVE $9.5 MM ALTUVE $29 MM
SS CORREA (ARB) $8 MM CORREA(ARB) $13 MM
3B BREGMAN $1 MM BREGMAN (ARB) $6 MM
C MAX STASSI $800 K STASSI (ARB) $2.5 MM
DH EVAN GATTIS $9 MM GURRIEL $8.4 MM
OF KYLE TUCKER $560 K TUCKER $600 K
OF GEORGE SPRINGER $12 MM SPRINGER (ARB) $16 MM
OF JOSH REDDICK $13 MM REDDICK   MYLES STRAW $13 MM   $600 K
SWISS ARMY KNIFE MARWIN GONZALEZ $8 MM GONZALEZ $8 MM
BENCH TONY KEMP $560 K TONY KEMP $600 K
BACKUP CATCHER GARRETT STUBBS $560 K STUBBS $600 K
SP VERLANDER $20 MM PEACOCK (ARB) $7 MM
SP GERRIT COLE (ARB) $12 MM COLE (FA) $20 MM
SP LANCE MCCULLERS (ARB) $6 MM MCCULLERS (ARB) $9 MM
SP CHARLIE MORTON (FA) $16 MM MORTON (FA) $16 MM
SP COLLIN MCHUGH (ARB)  

$8 MM

FORREST WHITLEY  

$600 K

RP HECTOR RONDON $4.5 MM HECTOR RONDON (FA) $8 MM
RP CHRIS DEVENSKI (ARB)  

$3.5 MM

DEVENSKI (ARB)  

$5 MM

RP KEN GILES (ARB) $6.5 MM GILES (ARB) DEAN DEETZ $600 K
RP JOE SMITH $8 MM  

JOSH JAMES

 

$600 K
RP WILL HARRIS $5.5 MM FA PICKUP  

$8 MM

RP BRAD PEACOCK (ARB)  

$4 MM

ROGELIO ARMENTEROS  

$600 K

RP CIONEL PEREZ  

$560 K

CIONEL PEREZ  

$600 K

RP 2018 TRADE DEADLINE PICKUP  

$6 MM

2018 TRADE DEADLINE PICKUP  

$6 MM

MISC. ???  

$2 MM

PART OF REDDICK, ETC  

$6 MM

TOTAL 2019 Total $176 MM 2020 Total $173.3 MM

Discussion

The guess at the 2019 opening day roster was an educated shot. The 2020 roster is more a wing and a prayer. But the bottom line is that there could be a lot of movement involved just if the folks who are turning into free agents go elsewhere.

Gone

  • Justin Verlander. I love the guy. You love the guy. We all love the guy. But he will be 37 years old heading into 2020 and something tells me he is not going to take a discount to stick around and they need to use his salary elsewhere. This could be a terrible mistake if he is the next Nolan Ryan and is just getting going at 37. But looking ahead the bet is they will bet that he isn’t.
  • Collin McHugh. He will be 33 during the 2020 season. But he looks like one of those guys who will sign a four- or five-year contract at that time that will be an anchor after a couple years into it.
  • Will Harris. Will is not a sure thing to be back in 2019 and so 2020 looks even less likely. He will turn 36 during the 2020 season and likely will turn it elsewhere.
  • Evan Gattis. OK in the 2019 post we had the Astros signing Gattis to a 3 year / $27 MM contract. But if 1B Yordan Alvarez is ready for the biggies in 2020, then this comes down to whether you want the more powerful, but more sporadic Gattis manning the DH spot or the clutch line drive machine named Yuli Gurriel manning this spot. The guess is that they will try to trade Evan for prospects.
  • Josh Reddick. This is a total guess, but it could well be that the Astros might look to see if they could get someone to swallow part of Josh’s last year at $13 million and put a youngster like Myles Straw in that spot. Maybe go halfsies on the salary and roll forward with a little more flexibility.
  • Ken Giles. Another shot in the dark here, but if Giles is not good enough to hang onto a late-inning spot, might they just let him go rather than be at the $8 MM level after a second arbitration round?
  • Joe Smith. There is a good chance that he will never earn close to the $15 MM he is getting for 2018 and 2019, so he is not a likely candidate for a return engagement.

Looking to Keep

  • Gerrit Cole. He will be 29 years old heading into 2020 and if he continues to be a fine pitcher for the Astros they may want to wave a 5 year / $100 million contract at him. Of course, it might cost them much more than that and then they may have to choose a different path. They may try to extend him between now and that day…
  • Hector Rondon. The guy has shown filthy stuff, especially lately in a closer’s role. He will be 32 y.o. when the 2020 season comes around. Would he take 2 years / $16 million?

Assumptions

  • The biggest changes between now and 2020 will be in the bullpen. Collin McHugh will likely move to the rotation in 2019 and elsewhere in 2020. Brad Peacock will likely move to the rotation in 2020. Joe Smith will likely move on and it says here they may part ways with Ken Giles. Two of those spots may be veterans brought in to help, but there is no doubt the Astros are going to have to fill in with a Dean Deetz, Josh James, Francis Martes, and/or Rogelio Armenteros.
  • If they can re-sign Cole or McHugh then they only need to add a 5th starter (Forrest Whitley?) to the rotation, along with moving Peacock there. If they can’t sign Cole or McHugh they may be out digging for the next Charlie Morton.
  • The bottom line here is that with Verlander, McHugh, Gattis, Giles and part of Reddick coming off the payroll under this scenario they would have a slightly lower payroll even with all the arbitration folks getting raises and Jose Altuve‘s big contract kicking in. Of course, this does not take into account if the team tries to do some early signing on a Correa, Bregman or McCullers.

So, folks, what do you think this team will look like heading into 2020?

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131 comments on “Future Astros part 2: Three-year look ahead at 2020

  1. When I was in high school one of the guys in my class was an heir to a very famous hotel chain that shall remain anonymous. In high school he seemed intelligent enough, but slept thru most of high school probably due to whatever he was doing most nights (sleeping not being one of the things he was doing). Anyways a couple years after graduation I ran in to another of the guys from the class and asked him – whatever happened to Eric. Well Eric was working as a night bell hop at one of daddy’s hotels.

    Well a few years later I read an article about Eric who had just become a VP of the hotel chain.

    So, I think of this demotion to Fresno as the major league version of working as a night bell hop and hopefully this guy will straighten up and fly right too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lost in this is the opportunity given Cionel Perez. He had that little cup of coffee but didn’t pitch. I hope he gets a chance and does well.
    Football and perhaps hockey with their high contact rates seem to require high levels of adrenaline and “getting up” for the game. Baseball with its high failure rate is much more demanding mentally. When I was playing it seemed like the more excited and emotionally up I was the poorer I played. One of the best things that ever happened to me was coming across the book THE MENTAL GAME OF BASEBALL. I was a coach then but one of the premises was that the more you think about the results (grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to win) the less likely that will happen. Instead one needs to focus on what it takes to hit the granny; get a good pitch and hit it hard. The reverse applies to failure. If you’re worried about striking out you most likely will. I think one reason Bregman and Yuli are better clutch hitters than Jose and George and even Correa is that they get to the fundamental of getting a good pitch and hitting it hard and let the result be what it may. Giles always projected a fear of failure. I doubt he’ll master that in Fresno.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kind of like golf. Don’t try to make the club do something funky. Make a good swing, adhere to the fundamentals and good things are likely to happen. One thing about Bregman’s home runs. He doesn’t swing like he’s trying to hit it out of the park. Definitely can’t say that about Springer and Correa and sometimes Altuve. What frustrates me most about Altuve (I’m not complaining) is that he’ll take a pitch just off the edge of the plate and swing at one that misses by three feet. Springer as of late looks like he is just trying to make contact and the results are much better. I hope Correa takes note when he returns.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m thinking the situation deteriorated and Luhnow handled it.
    I’m satisfied.
    I think the Astros liked what they saw from Cionel Perez last week.

    Like

    • Pretty obvious when your control is not there that it’s going to be a long night. LMJ just didn’t seem to be on and the results speak for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mercy….took McCullers out. I really hate games like this, I’m spoiled by the awesome pitching we have! Not used to having one of our guys melt down.

    Like

    • First of all, they must be feeding these guys bread and water only in Corpus. Tucker and Perez are razor thin. But to answer your question, Perez had a live fastball and good control at least for a while. He did not seem to have a put away pitch, but it was his first game. He was a lot more impressive to me than Guduan.

      Like

    • He looked small – not just thin but also not tall. Like ac45 says he could use a few pounds. With his gaunt face and overly long goatee he looked like he should join the Red Hot Chili Peppers or play Satan in a Twilight Zone episode.
      He had good velocity – ball seemed to jump – his location and breaking balls were inconsistent, Need to see him when he does not have adrenaline shooting out his ears.
      Young man had a good debut considering he only found out a few hours before the game he had to get from Midland to Houston and got there after the game started.

      Like

  5. One of my friends asked me how things are today vs. last season – relative to competition.
    Today the team is 62-33 with a 3 game lead over the M’s.
    Last year after 95 games they were only 1 game better – 63-32, but they had a 15-1/2 game lead over the 48-48 M’s.
    The Astros play the M’s 13 more times out of the next 67 games – a lot can can will happen.

    Like

  6. After reading comments on other sites
    I want to take a minute to thank you Dan for keeping this blog going and doing such a terrific job. I tend to take for granted a place to read comments written with educated thoughts and good taste.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Mr Perez needs mass quantities of Chicken fried steak, mashed taters, and cobbler of choice. Good Lively fastball, I hope his slider is better just nerves!

    Like

  8. I think the Perez-Guduan comparison is apt. Perez didn’t have a deer in the headlights look like we get from Guduan. His is a high effort delivery so I wonder about long term health and durability. With his first two fastballs I had visons of Billy Wagner light. I’m not too concerned about a put away pitch just yet. The A’s hit a lot of foul balls, just like they did to Verlander. My only irritation was that Harris immediately gave up a run to blow up his ERA. Has he ever seen an inherited runner he gave a rip about? OTOH I liked that Reddick really put out an effort to make a play at the plate. More play like that and his hitting coming around is making him more valuable. I thought his baserunning in the eleventh inning Tuesday was the real key to the win.

    Like

  9. To follow up on drbill14’s comment above that it’s best not to focus on hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, better to stick to fundamentals. Bregman’s success in clutch may demonstrate “staying in the moment.” Tuesday night, Bregman moved backward trying to avoid the tag, whereas many might have stood still awaiting the inevitable (me for instance). In doing that, he may have precipitated or at least contributed to the dropped ball. Then, in response to the flub, he takes out running — and it’s still a long shot. The outcome against him is still fairly certain. But having made the run, he makes it to first while the throw is far and away. Game won. Possibly totally traceable to Alex staying “in the moment” — not easy to do in the 11th inning in front of thousands and the boss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it was op who had mentioned that Altuve probably had never played “hot box” as a kid. Bregman looked like someone who had played a lot of hot box in his younger days. Head’s up play by a guy who may be our smartest (in the baseball sense) player.

      Like

  10. i am nervous about bregman being in the homerun derby. many is the time a player has gone into that contest with nothing but a swing for the fences mindset and it has disrupted his normal swing and approach for weeks afterwards. hope this doesnt happen to him

    Liked by 4 people

    • Rray, that thought came to mind. But what do you do? If the guy wants to be a part of it, how can you say no? I think his OPS is 1.300 something over the past month. I guess if he corrects down to a .900 after the All Star break, we’ll blame it all on Home Run Derby!

      Like

      • dave i think you have to let the guy go try it if he wants, he earned it. it just makes me a bit uneasy. i remember josh hamilton hitting em out like rockets, lots & lots of them. then he couldnt get his wing back in the season. happened to others as well.

        Like

  11. There are three Astros whose BAs are down significantly going into the ASB:

    Springer – down below .250 again to .249 [hit .283 in 2017];
    Gattis – also back below .250, at .245 [hit .263 in 2017];
    Margo – way down, at .237 [hit .303 in 2017].

    Who do you think will see improvement in the 2nd half; and who is just in for a disappointing year? My guess is Springer rebounds by .20 or more points, and Margo by .10 or more; but Gattis finishes between .225 and .240.

    Like

  12. Watching the A’s hitters. They look a lot like the Astros hitters of 2017. A lot of long counts. A lot of patience. A lot of hits.

    What a difference a year makes.

    Like

  13. Watching the A’s starting pitchers. They look a lot like the Astros’ starting pitchers of April and May, 2018. A lot of first pitch strikes. A lot of swings and misses. A lot of breaking balls that wind up in the zone and are called strikes.

    What a difference a month makes.

    Like

  14. Mr. Bill. GS career BA I believe is .265. Hitters on this tm 2017 had career yrs & the expected regression 2018 has been awful for some, GS included, and who is one expected hot streak away from breaking out. I really want this guy to hit for avg, he has the tools but I fear he is beginning to look like those bombers who couldn’t land jobs over the hot stove season, who came a dime a dozen. His def metrics however, makes him ++ over others I believe. In answer to your question Kemp is one I see improving, just hit a HR and is usually 2-4 when hitting. The ‘Kid’ with the long swing should improve as will Stassi with consistent PT. I see more hope in the youngsters than some of the established guys who will get too expensive next season.
    Think I heard Gattis on a 0-11 streak, mayb more now. MG has not shown much breakout for me yet & Reddick hits here & there. Kemp has earned PT & is a spark plug. However, TK might be trade bait. Sad big salaries will overshadow production

    Like

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