As I wrote in the comments the other day (which seems like a week ago at this point), the plan was to write a World Series wrap-up and then move on to discuss the Astros’ free agents with the deadline for making a qualifying offer only a few days away.
Well, something unusual happened on the way to the forum. I sat down to write the WS wrap-up and nothing happened. I went to the well and the well is as dry as Zack Greinke’s sense of humor. So, Plan B is to tackle the second topic and return to the World Series at some future date. You can’t fight Mother Nature or writer’s block.
A friend of the blog, Old Pro, pointed out the Astros have seven players who became free agents after the World Series, Kendall Graveman, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Brooks Raley, Yimi Garcia and Marwin Gonzalez. Hmm, I feel like I’m forgetting someone here. Probably a minor character. Oh right. It’s that Carlos Correa guy.
Here is a look at each of the seven:
- Age – 27 years old
- Salary for 2021 – $11.7 MM
- Career stats (all with Houston) – .277 BA/ .356 OBP/ .837 OPS / 438 runs / 133 HRs/ 489 RBIs
- 2021 stats – .279 BA/ .366 OBP/ .850 OPS/ 104 runs/ 26 HRs/ 92 RBIs
- Awards – Rookie of the Year / 2 Time All Star (really, only two?)
- Qualifying Offer – Duh, yeah they will shoot him one and he will quickly turn it down
- What are we looking at – Spotrac.com predicts 12 years / $300 MM
- How about re-signing Mr. Correa? Unless they are complete idiots, the Astros will at least give it a shot. He’s a premium talent at a premium position and unlike the vast majority of free agents, he is way under the 30-year-old line of demarcation. With a lot of money coming off the books this off-season, the Astros could afford to sign Correa at least for the short term. But the term may be the problem as Carlos will be looking for one of those 10+ year contracts and the Astros may not be looking for that kind of commitment. The key with Carlos is whether he will stay as healthy as he was in 2020 and 2021, but most teams are not thinking too much about that.
- Age – 38 years old (will turn 39 in February)
- Salary for 2021 – $33 MM
- Career stats – 226-129, 3.33 ERA, 1.134 WHIP, 9.1 K/ 9 IP
- Stats with Houston – 43-15, 2.45 ERA, 0.834 WHIP, 12.1 K/ 9 IP
- 2021 stats – Nada
- Awards – One league MVP – Two Cy Young Awards (one with Houston) – 8 All Star awards (2 with Houston)=
- Qualifying Offer – This would seem to be the smart move for Houston. He probably won’t take it, but if he does, you have someone to help bridge through 2022 at a fairly reasonable $18.4 MM
- What are we looking at – Not finding any official predictions – but certainly would not be surprised to see him offered 2-3 years in the $15 – 20 MM/ yr range
- How about re-signing Verlander? The Astros have to at least kick the tires on this. When he was last pitching for Houston in 2019 (forget the one start in 2020), he was the best pitcher in the AL with a no-hitter in September. Now he is two seasons removed from that and speaking of removed, any – ahem – stick assistance he may have used is now removed from his arsenal of tricks. He is also heading towards 39 years old. Has time and age and wear knocked down his velocity? No one knows and he may or may not be out doing showcases on this.
- Age – Turned 38 y.o. two weeks ago
- Salary for 2021 – $35 MM ($10.3 MM paid by the D’backs)
- Career stats – 219-132, 3.42 ERA, 1.159 WHIP, 8.1 K/ 9 IP
- 2021 stats – 11-6, 4.16 ERA, 1.170 WHIP, 6.3 K/ 9 IP
- Awards – 1 CY Young, 6 All Stars, 4 Gold Gloves – none with Houston- though he had an AS and GG with the D’Backs in 2019 when he was traded
- Qualifying Offer – Zack is not worth $18.4 MM anymore, so they will not be offering him this
- What are we looking at – Not finding any predictions on this – but could see someone offer him 2 yrs $12-15 MM per season
- How about re-signing Greinke? I’m not feeling it. He had been very, very good for a number of years from 2011 through 2019 and was excellent in that 2019 run to the World Series. But he had some struggles in 2020 and more so in 2021. He is not missing bats and he was having some physical problems. He was not terrible, but he turned into a home run machine, basically doubling his HR rate from 2020. The Astros are going to move on, though it was fun watching a real baseball player (hitter and fielder) in the pitcher’s spot.
- Age – Turns 31 years old in December
- Salary for 2021 – $1.75 MM (including a $500K buyout)
- Career stats – As a starter – 80 Games 23-31, 4.26 ERA, 1.387 WHIP, 5.8 K/ 9 IP
- As a reliever – 67 games – 6-2, 10 saves, 2.17 ERA. 0.962 WHIP, 8.9 K/ 9 IP
- 2021 stats – 53 games – 5-1, 10 saves, 1.77 ERA, 0.982 WHIP, 9.8 K/ 9 IP
- With Astros – 23 games – 1-1, 0 saves, 3.13 ERA, 1.391 WHIP, 10.6 K/ 9 IP
- Awards – None
- Qualifying Offer – No=
- What are we looking at – This is a tough one to figure. He was a mediocre starter for much of his career, was crummy in 2020 (who wasn’t) when he got his first bullpen exposure and was great (at least with the M’s) in his full-season shot in 2021. We will guess he will get…..3-4 years / $8-10 MM per year.
- How about re-signing Mr. Graveman? He should certainly be a target, but will he choose the bigger money of being a closer elsewhere to be a set-up man for a perennial contender. He did not pitch as well with the Astros as he did with the M’s in the regular season. But in nine postseason games, he was 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP and looked like he was settling into his role. He showed nasty stuff and the Astros are lacking in ready for prime time back of the bullpen arms.
- Age – 33 years old
- Salary for 2021 – $2 MM
- Career stats – 3-6, 3 saves, 5.62 ERA, 1.314 WHIP, 10.2 K/ 9 IP
- 2021 stats – 2-3, 2 saves, 4.78 ERA, 1.204 WHIP, 11.9 K/ 9 IP
- Awards – None
- Qualifying Offer – Nope
- What are we looking at – Probably 2 yrs – $2 MM per year, just because he’s a lefty
- How about re-signing Mr. Raley? If they could find a time machine and transport back to the days when the reliever didn’t have to face three batters minimum, Raley would be worth a lot more money. Against leftys he struck out 35 in 77 at bats and held them to a .195 BA/ .262 OBP/ .483 OPS even with the batters hitting a very lucky .357 BABIP. Dusty seemed to like him, so maybe they will chase him, but he should be the second option behind Blake Taylor as a lefty out of the bullpen.
- Age – 31 years old
- Salary for 2021 – $1.9 MM
- Career stats – 12-20, 17 saves, 3.60 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, 9.5 K/ 9 IP
- 2021 stats – 4-9, 15 saves, 4.21 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 9.4 K/ 9 IP
- Awards – None
- Qualifying Offer – Nope
- What are we looking at – He saved 15 games in 2/3 of a season….2 years – $4 MM per year?
- How about re-signing Mr. Garcia? Going from the non-pennant race of Miami to the hot race of Houston did not yield good results. He was much worse in almost every category, though like Graveman his K rate went up after his trade to the Astros. Did they fiddle with his delivery and pitch choices and cause a fall-off or did the higher pressure of the situation do him in? No real opinion here. He looked good at times and bad at times. If they know how to fix him – then sure – pick him up.
- Age – He turns 33 around opening day 2022
- Salary for 2021 – $3 MM
- Career stats – .256 BA/ .313 OBP/ .717 OPS / 400 runs / 101 HRs/ 397 RBIs
- 2021 stats – .199 BA/ .275 OBP/ .579 OPS/ 30 runs/ 5 HRs/ 28 RBIs
- Awards – None – though he was 19th in the AL MVP race in 2017
- Qualifying Offer – Oh he wishes
- What are we looking at – I think we are looking at Marwin signing a minor league contract and trying to earn a major league spot with some team.
- How about re-signing Mr. MarGo? If there was any living proof of garbage can banging, it would be Marwin’s wonderful 2017 season surrounded by a career of average or below. I wasn’t sure why they signed him when they did and why he was put on the playoff roster and why he was used ahead of Chas, but he did have a significant bloop signal in the World Series for 2 runs. I don’t see any reason for signing him in 2021, so they probably will.
- The plus one on the free agent side is Dusty Baker and apparently, they are well on the way to bringing him back. Whatcha think?