Here’s why landing a catcher might be more difficult than the Astros thought

The Astros had Willson Contreras as their top target in free agency, but watched him sign with the Cardinals this week.

Should this be a surprise? Martin Maldonado is still on the roster, so any free agent catcher knows they might not get to play as often as they like in Houston. Just ask Christian Vazquez who the Astros traded for at the trade deadline last season.

Will finding a catcher be a tougher task than the Astros expected with Maldy still under contract?

Plus, are the Astros really done spending for the most part, but just wanted fans to believe they were all-in on Contreras?

Check out the video above as we break it all down.

Catch The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein weekdays on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5.

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With so much on the line for the Astros this past weekend, they couldn't possibly get swept by the Royals, could they?

That's exactly what they did thanks to some poor pitching, and an inability to get timely hits with runners in scoring position.

The Astros are currently clinging to the last wild card position as they head to Seattle to face the Mariners, with Justin Verlander on the mound for the 'Stros.

Starting pitching has been the biggest issue for the club as of late, with Hunter Brown looking unusable moving forward. Brown has given up, wait for this, 6 earned runs or more in 3 of his last 4 starts. His ERA for the season is now over 5.

So how will the rotation look over the final stretch of games? We know for the Mariners series the team is rolling out Verlander, Cristian Javier, and Framber Valdez.

The club is off on Thursday, and they head to Arizona for a 3-game series with the Diamondbacks that starts Friday. We predict JP France will pitch Friday, with Justin Verlander likely taking the ball Saturday.

Then all bets are off for Sunday. It could be Framber on 3-days rest, or all hands on deck for a bullpen game.

Of course, with the division race being so close, things could change on a daily basis. There's even a scenario where Arizona secures their wild card, and the final two games of the season don't matter for them.

The other big factor will be the outcome of the 4-game Rangers-Mariners series that finishes off the season.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine all the scenarios leading up to the end of the regular season for Houston, and much more!

Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Thursday on SportsMap Houston's YouTube channel.

And listen to ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM for Houston's best sports talk.

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