The Houston Astros took a step back from their playoff appearance in 2015 to miss making the wild card game for the second straight year by five games. This winter should see a few changes made to the roster.
From a spot to fill in the rotation and potentially some depth there are well, in addition to potentially bringing in a new catcher to handle the pitching staff, the Houston Astros will have some work to do this offseason. But on the bright side, each area that they have a hole is room for drastic improvement that could lead to a big 2017.
As we mentioned earlier today in our Astros season recap, the team has some pending free agents in Colby Rasmus, Doug Fister, Jason Castro and Luis Valbuena. Fister is likely gone after a below average year, with a number of other options available to the team. He is a familiar option, but the Astros will likely either explore other arms available to them, or stand pat and bank on their youth. Rasmus will likely be courted by a number of teams looking to improve their outfield defense (San Francisco?) while hoping for a slice of Colby Jack at the dish. Valbuena could return to the club if they want him to be the team’s starting first baseman, but that isn’t very likely with A.J. Reed, Tyler White and Jon Singleton all in the mix once again to fill that void.
Jason Castro will be an interesting decision for the club. Outside of his big year for the ‘Stros in 2013, he has been well below average at the plate, and a hole in their otherwise formidable lineup. At 29, it’s hard to think that his bat will suddenly reappear with his big year now three seasons in the rearview. That said, Castro has been a part of the team through the bad times and has proven himself to be a solid defensive catcher and has been decent at the plate against right-handers. The Astros could bring him back and platoon him with Gattis, but that could have a trickle down effect on the rest of the roster’s productivity.
Here is our look at what the Houston Astros should do this winter in order to fulfill the prophecy of being the 2017 World Series champions.