The Houston Astros are back at it again! They have been the most consistent team in the past decade despite the cheating scandal that hindered their success a few years back. Many of their opponents in the postseason were pissed when it was proven that the Astros cheated in numerous home games during their 2017 postseason run. But, they have proven that they can still win it all even without hidden cameras as they captured the 2022 World Series crown.
After winning a World Series, the next step is to win back-to-back, and it is not off to a terrific start because they have lost ace Justin Verlander to the New York Mets. That will be a glaring hole to fill in, and that is no easy feat with the limited options left in the market. Moreover, Jose Abreu was signed to replace free agent Yuli Gurriel at the first base position. With these moves completed, certain names must not be considered by Houston.
Even if Houston has continued possessing a winning environment, the catcher position has been a weak link for them. For instance, their franchise was linked to Wilson Contreras before the trade deadline, but he has since decided to sign a huge contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Thus, the Astros will likely remain with Martin Maldonado backstopping the Astros.
The lack of catcher depth in the free agency is glaring, but the Astros must not invest in Gary Sanchez. Even when he was on the New York Yankees, there were many instances wherein he focuses too much on hitting home runs, which drastically affected his contact hitting and batting average. The 2016 and 2017 campaigns are down the drain, and Houston must consider upgrading to another position instead.
Similar to Gary Sanchez, Aroldis Chapman is a former New York Yankee player and a star player on that squad. However, both have failed to sustain their success as one major issue of Chapman has been his control and off-field issues. The Astros arguably have one of the best pitching staffs in the league even if they currently only have six relievers on their squad.
Knowing the reputation and initiatives of the Astros front office staff, they will be able to boost their bullpen to supplement superstar closer, Ryan Pressly. Taylor Rodgers or Michael Fulmer are more viable options that would thrive in an environment like Houston. Speaking of Fulmer, he will welcome the new change as he has been with a team that has not experienced constant success like the Astros.
One of the top starting pitchers in the market Nathan Eovaldi is still available to replace Justin Verlander in the Astros rotation. Even if Verlander is way past his prime, it seems that none of the remaining free agents can have the similar impact and numbers he brought to Houston. The problem with choosing Eovaldi over the likes of Chris Bassitt or Carlos Rodon is his subpar numbers with the Boston Red Sox last season.
Throughout his career, Nathan Eovaldi has been having trouble avoiding injuries except in the 2021 season, wherein he started a total of 32 contests. For Carlos Rodon, he was one of the top starters in the NL last season even if he was with a struggling San Francisco Giants organization. Similar to Rodon, Bassitt is a far better option because he is steady and reliable as an ace for the Houston Astros.