Today we will hit on two areas of interest for the off-season.
1) Free Agents
The first is a look at and a prioritization of the Astros’ upcoming free agents and what they might cost to keep. The list is shown in the order that Dan P thinks they should be kept. You can toss out your preferred priority in the comments…..
- Charlie Morton – After incentives, Charlie made almost $9 Million in 2018. He is about to turn 35 years old and has indicated he still wants to play, but maybe not a long time. First, they will absolutely give him a qualifying offer (QO of $17.9 million). MLB Trade rumors thinks he will get more than Rich Hill (3 years $48 million) who was two years older. He may also want to go home closer to family in Delaware. This is probably the most important and hard to figure free agent in the stable.
- Marwin Gonzalez – Spotrac estimates it will take $18 million/year for 4 years to sign MarGo….. really? If so, will the Astros give him a QO and let him walk? Or will they let him see the market and see if they can get him for a bit less – like $15 million/year for 3 or 4 years?
- Martin Maldonado – Spotrac is estimating he will get $3.9 million for 1 year (which is what he made in 2018). The Astros need catching help, but do they let his playoff crash and burn over-ride an ok regular season assist to the team? Can’t see them keeping him for this much.
- Dallas Keuchel – Spotrac says he will get $20.6 million/year for 5 years. If so, it is hard to see them doing anything but giving him the QO and letting him walk
- Tony Sipp – 35-year-old Sipp was good in 2018 in fairly low leverage appearances. He made $6 million, like he did in 2016 and 2017 when he was bad. Unless he wants a big pay cut – hard to see him back here at anything over $2 or 3 million.
- Brian McCann – The Astros paid him $11.5 million per year for the last two seasons (the Yanks were paying him $5.5 million per year not to play for them). There is a team option for $15 million. That won’t get picked up. Would they be interested in picking him up for a lot less, like $4 or $5 million. Maybe, but Brian may hang it up or try to head back to Atlanta to finish his career.
- Will Harris – The Astros paid him $2.8 million in 2018, when his performance worsened for the second straight year. They have an option to keep him at $5.5 million. They won’t pick that up. Likely he is gone.
- Evan Gattis – Spotrac thinks Evan will get $7.8 million/year for two years out on the market. Based on what happened with FAs who could hit for power, but could not field before the 2018 season, it would not be surprising if he is scrambling for a place next season and don’t bet on that place being Houston.
40 Man Roster adjustments
A friend of the blog, old pro, requested we use the following link to talk about the changes that need to happen to the 40 man roster leading into the rule 5 draft. Jayne Hansen over at whattheheckbobby does yeoman work in keeping folks informed on the Astros’ minor leaguers year long.
There are two parts to this equation. We will ignore the folks under AA for this discussion. Yes, I know that we lost a player below AA last season, but that is highly unusual. The following folks are available to be taken in the Rule 5 draft for $50,000 if they are not on the 40 man roster at the time of the draft. Whoever takes them can only keep them if they stay on that team’s 25 man roster for the whole season.
RHP Akeem Bostick
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn
LHP Kent Emanuel
RHP Justin Ferrell
RHP Riley Ferrell
RHP Ralph Garza
RHP Brendan McCurry
RHP Cy Sneed
RHP Ryan Thompson (ended the season on the DL; TJ surgery)
RHP Trent Thornton
AA Position Players
The other component to this is knocking folks off the 40 man roster. The current 40 man roster is actually at 41 due to Jandel Gustave being on the 60 day DL.
Folks that could come off the 40 (41) man, may include the following – Gustave, Reymin Guduan, Will Harris, Dallas Keuchel. Brady Rodgers, Martin Maldonado, Evan Gattis, Brian McCann and Carlos Correa (just checking to see if you are paying attention). They need to reserve some of those spaces for any outside free agents they might want to sign. Let’s guess at three of those. Perhaps the team may trade from off the 40 man to bring in a player for a specific reason (Perhaps Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis or a Chris Devenski or Brad Peacock) might be included in a trade.
Let’s say there are five spots open on the 40 man, after all, is said and done. The top candidates for those spots would seem to include…..
- OF Drew Ferguson, C Jamie Ritchie and C Garrett Stubbs
- P Rogelio Armenteros, Brendan McCurry, Cy Sneed, Trent Thorton, Brock Dykxhoorn, Carlos Hiraldo, Alex Winkelman
Picking from those, the two catchers Ritchie and Stubbs would seem to be no-brainers. Ferguson because of the lack of OF depth would be another choice, but pitching is worth more so youngster (21 years old) Carlos Hiraldo and two of the AAA pitchers – let’s choose Armenteros and Sneed.
There could be more – there could be less, but it looks to me like the Astros are likely to get poached on the pitching side this time around.
So, your turn to chime in….what do you think about the Astros and their own free agents and what do you think about them protecting youngsters from the Rule 5 draft.