The Astros’ front office has done the unexpected many times under GM and President of Baseball Operations Jeff Luhnow. Who saw them signing Yuli Gurriel (who had never played in the minor leagues much less the majors) for $47.5 million? Or Charlie Morton with a 47-71 career record and coming off a season where he threw only 17 innings was given a 2 year, $14 million contract? Or taking pitcher Collin McHugh who had a 48-28 record as a starting pitcher for the Astros and sticking him in the bullpen for the 2018 season?
So, to spur discussion, here are five unexpected things that could happen in the Astros’ off-season.
1. Trade Yuli Gurriel
Yuli has been a solid contributor for the Astros, but not a big power guy like one would expect from a corner infield spot. He is great at not striking out (11% of plate appearances) and bad at walking (4% of PAs). He is signed for $18.8 million over the next two seasons with two additional seasons of team control under arbitration. But he will also turn 35 this coming June.
2. Trade Kyle Tucker
Yes, the Astros don’t want to trade Tucker or Forrest Whitley, but common sense tells you that Whitley may be worth more than Tucker to the team. And if the team saw things in Tucker’s call-up that they think might be a fatal flaw… They might not let their alleged feelings for Tucker keep them from a blockbuster J.T. Realmuto or Cory Kluber or Paul Goldschmidt trade.
3. Sign a free agent they can’t use in 2019
A pitcher like Garrett Richards who is recovering from Tommy John surgery could be grabbed as a future investment – someone who may not be ready in 2019, but could be signed to multiple years at a discount and show up to assist when Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole and Collin McHugh likely ride into the sunset after next season.
4. Package Deal Attempt
The Astros at least attempt to chase a package deal like Zack Greinke and Goldschmidt with the thought that taking on a chunk or all of Greinke’s contract lessens what they need to give up to pick up a Goldschmidt.
5. Obtain a “different” catcher
Everyone has heard about the Astros interest in trading for J.T. Realmuto. Free agents like Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos have been mentioned as potential targets. But often in the past “different” players have been obtained than those rumored (See last trade deadline pickups – Ryan Pressly, Roberto Osuna and Martin Maldonado).
Bottom line. None of these unexpected things may happen, but don’t be surprised if some do.
Any unexpected things that you think may occur?
And a little early. We at Chipalatta wish all of our dear readers a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.