As the Houston Astros begin their offseason roster work, the outfield will be the biggest focal point.
The 2020 pandemic-shortened MLB season gave us a long list of unique, rare, and downright weird moments over the course of its 60-game schedule, including taking a page out of the NBA playoff scene and having two teams with a losing record make the playoff field, the 29-31 Houston Astros being one of those teams.
Luckily for the Astros, there were no fans filling up ballparks on a nightly basis to remind them of their recent transgressions, but the 2020 season still proved to be a challenging season for Houston.
At the end of the day, Houston forced their way into a game seven in the American League Championship Series, just one win away from a World Series rematch against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That same roster that took them to the doorstep of another World Series returns largely intact, including a young and promising starting rotation and the usual veterans like Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. But there is one major area of concern, the outfield.
George Springer, 31, is now a free agent and looking to cash in after entering free agency for the first time in his career. Early offseason rumors suggest that a return to Houston isn’t in the future for Springer, who is likely to command a contract well-north of $100 million as one of the more premium bats on the market.
Michael Brantley has also entered free agency, coming off back-to-back solid seasons with Houston where he posted a wRC+ of 133 and 134, hitting over .300 with a combined 5.5 Wins Above Replacement value.
That currently leaves the Houston Astros with a starting outfield of Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw, and Chas McCormick. It’s far from an ideal outfield at the moment, but it won’t take much to fix this weakness.
Here’s how the Astros address their outfield needs and put together a productive unit.