MLB free agency is set to get started on Monday and there are several players to discuss that are likely on the Astros' wish list or have been linked to the club in various articles and reports.
Juan Soto has been mentioned as a player the Astros should target, and he's not even a free agent until next season. Plus, he's expected to make around $27 million in arbitration this year, so don't count him wearing an Astros uniform anytime soon. The team would have to trade for him and pay him big money. This doesn't sound like a Jim Crane move.
Another player linked to Houston is Rangers reliever Aroldis Chapman. Former MLB executive, Jim Bowden, believes he would be a good fit for Houston, and he may only require a 2-year deal for $12 million. Chapman will be 36 when the season begins, and it's hard to imagine Astros fans would be excited for him to join the club. But the Astros are expected to lose Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek in free agency, so he could be a decent option to consider.
The player we're most excited about is Arizona outfielder Lourdes Gurriel. With Michael Brantley's contract expiring, the team could use another outfielder that can play good defense and hit. But he won't come cheap. MLBTradeRumors.com projects he could command around 20 million per season.
So which player/players make the most sense for Houston?
Watch the video above for the full discussion.
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The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.
The Houston Astros have acquired RHP Dylan Coleman from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for RHP Carlos Mateo. pic.twitter.com/hDYuBLn2Kv
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 6, 2023
While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.
First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.
The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.
Coleman appeared in 96 games in the past three seasons for KC, including 68 games in 2022 and 23 games last season. He has a career 3.88 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He’s fastball (95 mph), slider (81) and cutter (90) and walked 57 batters and struck out 99 in 92 2/3 innings.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 6, 2023
Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.
The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.
Something to note
There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.
In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.
Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.
You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.