This post was inspired by a friend of the blog – Sarge H
For the time being the biggest area of concern is when and if the 2020 season will begin and end. But the Astros have a team that will be facing a lot of potential personnel changes in 2021 and 2022 due to free agency.
Here is one ranking of the potential changes/losses for the team over the next two seasons:
- Justin Verlander (Free Agent after 2021). Yes, it is always possible that fans will be hoping to get aging and injured JV off the payroll after the 2021 season, but he does give off a Nolan Ryan vibe that says he could do this well into his 40’s. No matter what happens over the next two seasons, Verlander has given the Astros his all to date.
- George Springer (FA after 2020). The loss of Springer is not just a physical or statistical loss, but also one of the heart. It has been apparent that he is the central emotional figure for this team and if he moves on it will be a two-fold loss for the team.
- Zack Greinke (FA after 2021). He is a critical bridging cog for the team as it moves on from the loss of Gerrit Cole and heads to a future likely led by youngsters. If he gives the Astros anywhere close to what he has produced the last 5 seasons, over the next two seasons, his loss would be large even at 39 years old.
- Michael Brantley (FA after 2020). If you were going to map out the first season with the Astros for Brantley, what he actually produced was as good as could be anticipated (.311 BA/ .875 OPS / 88 runs/ 22 HRs/ 90 RBIs). He will be a tough loss for the team if he leaves.
- Lance McCullers Jr. (FA after 2021). This seems like way too soon for Lance to hit free agency, but he was in the majors for 4 seasons and spent the 5th on the IL. He is not quite as important as Verlander and Greinke, but he still needs to show health over a full season and frankly needs to run with the #3 spot in the rotation.
- Carlos Correa (FA after 2021). Depending on what Correa does over the next 2 seasons (OK next 1-1/2 seasons) losing him could fly towards the top of this list or possibly fall off it. Yes, Alex Bregman could move over to SS and a 3B is easier to find, but when Correa is playing healthy he is one of the best SS in the game.
- Yuli Gurriel (FA after 2020). He turns 36 in early June, but still it is a puzzlement why the Astros converted his contract over so that he is a FA after 2020 rather than having some arbitration years. He has been good over the last few seasons and took his game to another level in 2019. The answer to this may be as simple as two words – Taylor Jones.
- Ryan Pressly (FA after 2021). He has been tremendous for the Astros since coming over from the Twins. Except for his knee problem, he was easily the most effective reliever over the last two seasons.
- Roberto Osuna (FA after 2021). He has been very good at times for the Astros and worry at others. Isn’t that the definition of a closer? He could be a trade chip along the way or he could end up being replaced by some youngster (can you say Bryan Abreu) before his time ends here.
- Brad Peacock (FA after 2020). Since grabbing a full-time roster spot with his terrific 2017 season, Peacock has been the pitching equivalent of Marwin Gonzalez as a Swiss Army knife utility-wise. In the last three seasons, he has started 37 games, pitched out of the bullpen 81 times and finished games 28 times. He might have to be replaced by two pitchers….
- Joe Smith (FA after 2021). He pitched OK in 2018 and in 2019 after returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon he pitched excellently. He will be expected to pick up the slack with Hector Rondon and Will Harris gone.
- Martin Maldonado (FA after 2021). The Astros have turned over the catcher and backup catcher spots more than any other on the roster since turning the cornerback in 2015. Martin could well end up the backup rather than starter before his time is up.
- Josh Reddick (FA after 2020). In many people’s minds, Josh is already gone, because they see Kyle Tucker as the heir apparent. Plus, Reddick just came off a very ineffective season and is costing more than most folks think he is worth. Of course, injuries or poor play by others could make the Astros glad they have him for one more season.
- Chris Devenski (FA after 2021). Devo will have to pitch better to even make it to the 2021 season with the team. If he could return to some of that 2016 and 2017 magic, he could move up this list – but a repeat of 2018 or 2019 and he may be Gone Boy Gone.
- Joe Biagini (FA after 2020). A betting person would say that unless he figures something out – he will not even start the 2020 season with the Astros.
There you have it – all the players the Astros could possibly lose over the next 2 season by way of free agency.
- How would you rank them in the size of the lost?
- Who do you think they will re-sign or possibly extend?
- Who do you want to see gone?