ASTROS HOT STOVE

Houston Astros whiff on primary free agent target

Houston Astros whiff on primary free agent target
Willson Contreras will not be replacing catcher Martin Maldonado. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

According to multiple reports, free agent catcher Willson Contreras is signing a 5-year, $87.5 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Contreras was the Astros top target in free agency and will have to pursue other possibilities with Contreras heading to St. Louis.

The Astros reportedly have interest in bringing Christian Vazquez back in what could be a timeshare with Martin Maldonado. Houston could be in the market to trade for A's catcher Sean Murphy, according to reports. Murphy is under team control until 2025, so he won't come cheap if the A's are willing to trade him in the division.

Houston could also look to the farm system for help. Former 1st round pick Korey Lee or Yainer Díaz could both be options this season as the team transitions away from Maldonado, who is in the final year of his contract.

Another Astro moves on

The Oakland A's reportedly signed former Astros DH and utility man Aledmys Diaz to a 2-year, $14 million contract on Wednesday.

Diaz hit .255/.313/.424 with 32 home runs in his four years with the club. Diaz had some big moments with the team, but dealt with his fair share of injuries. It seemed like Diaz's time with the team was coming to an end when he went 1-23 in the 2022 postseason.

Looking ahead

The Astros are rumored to have interest in several free agent outfielders. Andrew Benintendi, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto have all been mentioned as players on the club's radar.

Michael Brantley could also be an option to bring back, but the team won't have confirmation on the health of his shoulder for quite some time.



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