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2020 astros offseason

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I seriously doubt they even look at Keuchel. He burned a bunch of bridges his last year with the team. 

Did he though?

Please recap.

Other than being a dick with the media from time to time, which IMO is more of his MO rather than a blatant bridge burning expedition in his walk year, remind me what he did that would warrant not being looked at if the price was right?

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Can't see it with Keuchel unless he drops his price a lot. His free agency will be interesting. 

I'm not the biggest Keuchel fan, but at the right price I'd be all for it. 

Seems pretty doubtful though. 

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2 minutes ago, UTexasFight said:


Did he though?

Please recap.

Other than being a dick with the media from time to time, which IMO is more of his MO rather than a blatant bridge burning expedition in his walk year, remind me what he did that would warrant not being looked at if the price was right?

The problem is that he was constantly a dick to management. Nevertheless, in 2016 and early in 2017, on multiple occasions they offered him what the team thought were pretty good offers and he would reject them each time with crazy counteroffers. Of course, Boras is his agent. Then after he gets hurt in 2017 he comes back and wants to take one of the old deals, which were no longer on the table because he and Boras rejected them. The Astros said no, and he was even more of a dick. This is all from someone in management (not Taubman lol), so I don't profess to know DK's side of the story, but if this is their perspective, I'm doubtful they want to deal with that again. 

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dk wanted a lot of money and years.  he didn't get it, so he took a one-year deal to prove himself so that he could get....a lot of money and years.

i don't see how our situation has changed with him at all.

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1 minute ago, henrygandorf said:

dk wanted a lot of money and years.  he didn't get it, so he took a one-year deal to prove himself so that he could get....a lot of money and years.

i don't see how our situation has changed with him at all.

8-8, 3.75 is going to get him a lot of money and years?

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3 minutes ago, David Dennison said:

8-8, 3.75 is going to get him a lot of money and years?

certainly more than we're willing to give him, that's the whole point.

edit to add - in 2018 he went 12-11 with a 3.74 and that was when he decided he was worth the big bucks.

Edited by henrygandorf
stats!

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McHugh just posted multiple tweet goodbye. Very touching. 

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25 minutes ago, Js1 said:

McHugh just posted multiple tweet goodbye. Very touching. 

That’s how you do it.   Best of luck, Collin.  

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58 minutes ago, Guadaloopy said:

That’s how you do it.   Best of luck, Collin.  

Yep. Will be a fan of his for life. Pure class 

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Love that guy.  He and Keuchel were the signs we were coming out of the jungle on the pitching side.

raw

 

 

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5 hours ago, Js1 said:

McHugh just posted multiple tweet goodbye. Very touching. 

I hope he lands a solid contract somewhere 

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53 minutes ago, tx 3 putt said:

Have we resigned Harris yet ?

He hasn’t tweeted a farewell, so I hope it’s close. He deserves a deal like Pressly’s. 

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It will all work out, but this is going to be a tough offseason. They have a ton of money tied in few players.  They have some to spend, but don’t expect any blockbuster type deals. 

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This offseason is all about finding pitching, at least 1 starter and several relievers. Team has 6 free agent pitchers plus Sanchez is unlikely to contribute. Position player roster is fine except catcher. 

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6 minutes ago, David Dennison said:

Why not just sign Cole?

I didn’t respond to that post (sign Strasburg) because it appeared it was a suggestion for petscii’s fantasy team.  


I think they’ll try to find another Wade Miley type (1 year deal) and MAYBE trade for another starter (running out of bullets for this so it’ll need to be someone in disfavor elsewhere).  I wouldn’t be shocked to see a McHugh return if he’s unable to get something with more years on the market.  
 

I would think the brain trust is going to be looking at developing long reliever/short starters more than looking for traditional starters in the Verlander/Cole mode.  That’s what the the farm system is putting out and they’ve got so much money tied up in the position players that they’ll need to get creative elsewhere.  

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Altuve took a step or 2 back defensively. His arm is not good enough to make those throws on the SS side of the bag when they shift. Bregman got hosed, but I can understand why considering he played 60+ games at SS.

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On 11/1/2019 at 4:59 PM, David Dennison said:

Yeah, I just saw one projection of five years, $100 million.

He will not be an Astro.

Fangraphs has him at 3 years / $15MM per year.

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Offseason primer from Kaplan
Good stuff as usual

It is a testament to the talent and depth of players on the Astros roster that they remain in enviable shape even after subtracting the best starting pitcher on this offseason’s free-agent market in Gerrit Cole.

But as general manager Jeff Luhnow plans for 2020 and beyond, he and his front office face new challenges. The team’s payroll flexibility is limited, even if owner Jim Crane decides he’ll exceed the first competitive balance tax threshold of $208 million. The farm system is no longer flush with trade assets. And three of the top six hitters in the lineup are entering contract years.

Reinforcing the margins of the roster will require creativity from Luhnow, who just completed his eighth season running the team. The Astros are set to return virtually all of their 2019 lineup, and Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr. will be the top three in their rotation. But they also begin the offseason with no proven catchers and almost half a bullpen to fill while already having a projected opening day payroll pushing that $208 million mark.

“Every team has limits. There’s not unlimited spending potential for at least most teams. We’re one that has limits,” Luhnow said. “We have to spend wisely. That’s part of the front office’s job, and we’ve done that in the past. We’ve been reaching all-time payroll highs every year for the past four or five years and that will probably continue next year.

“How we allocate those resources is something that we spend a lot of time thinking about and how we commit resources for the future, as well. Because committing resources for 2025 right now comes with a lot of risk. We’re going to do all of that analysis, we’re going to be negotiating hard to try and figure out how we use the resources we have. But I’m very satisfied, as the head of baseball operations, with the support that we’ve received from ownership and expect that to continue.”

Luhnow’s objective has always been to build a sustainable winner, not a team with a limited contention window that has to undergo another rebuild. After falling eight outs shy of a second title in three years, the Astros are primed to contend for another World Series next season. But as he seeks reinforcements for 2020, Luhnow will also be cognizant of any given transaction’s implications for 2021 and beyond, when several of the team’s best players could be elsewhere.

Meanwhile, he must also confront the fallout of Brandon Taubman’s firing. The disgraced former assistant GM’s influence in the team’s baseball operations department was vast, and it remains unclear as to how Luhnow will restructure his front office in the wake of the dismissal of his top lieutenant. Outside hires or internal promotions could be forthcoming.

The confluence of all these factors will make this a fascinating next few months for the Astros. What follows is a guide to their 2019-20 offseason, which began in earnest on Monday.

Free agents

These eight Astros became free agents on Thursday and will be eligible to sign with a team as soon as Monday at 4:01 p.m. CT.

RHP Gerrit Cole*
RHP Will Harris
C Robinson Chirinos
C Martín Maldonado
LHP Wade Miley
RHP Joe Smith
RHP Collin McHugh
RHP Héctor Rondón

*The Astros will extend Cole a one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer before Monday’s 4 p.m. CT deadline to do so, which he will decline. If Cole signs with another team, the Astros will recoup a compensatory draft pick in Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round. For context, the Competitive Balance Round B picks in the 2019 draft ranged from Nos. 70-77 overall.

Salary guarantees

2B José Altuve, $145 million over five years
3B Alex Bregman, $100 million over five years
RHP Justin Verlander, $66 million over two years
RHP Zack Greinke, $49.3 million over two years*
RHP Ryan Pressly, $17.5 million over two years*
LF Michael Brantley, $16 million over one year
RF Josh Reddick, $13 million over one year
1B Yuli Gurriel, $8 million over one year

*When the Astros acquired Greinke, they agreed to pay $53 million of the $77 million he was owed through the 2021 season. It is unclear exactly how much of that $53 million the Astros owe Greinke in each of the ’20 and ’21 seasons, as his six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks included salary deferrals and a signing bonus to be paid out in various installments. Spotrac projects the Astros to be on the hook for $24.6 million in ’20 and ’21, so we’re using that figure for this projection.

*Pressly’s contract also calls for a $10 million option for 2022 that vests if he pitches in 60 games in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. If Pressly doesn’t make 60 appearances in each of those seasons, it turns into a club option that would be valued between $7 million and $10 million, depending on his number of appearances in 2021.

Arbitration-eligible players

These Astros are eligible to go through the salary arbitration process this offseason. Most players get three years of arbitration while players who qualify for Super Two status get four. The estimated 2020 salaries below are courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com’s projection model.

Most of these arbitration cases will likely be settled without a hearing. If the sides don’t agree to terms beforehand, the players’ agents and the team will exchange proposed salary figures in January. If they can’t find common ground, an independent three-person panel will hear both sides and choose one proposed salary figure or the other.

Player Year of arbitration Projected 2020 salary
OF George Springer 4 of 4 $21.4 million
RHP Roberto Osuna 3 of 4 $10.2 million
SS Carlos Correa 2 of 3 $7.4 million
RHP Aaron Sanchez* 3 of 3 $5.6 million
RHP Brad Peacock 3 of 3 $4.6 million
RHP Lance McCullers* 3 of 4 $4.1 million
OF Jake Marisnick 4 of 4 $3.0 million
IF Aledmys Díaz 1 of 3 $2.4 million
RHP Chris Devenski* 2 of 3 $2.0 million
RHP Joe Biagini 2 of 4 $1.5 million
*Devenski has a $2.825 million club option for 2020 that will be declined if the Astros, like MLBTradeRumors.com, project Devenski to make less than that salary through the arbitration process. He’s under team control through the 2021 season regardless. It’s simply a matter of determining his 2020 salary.

*Sanchez is a candidate to be non-tendered before the Dec. 2 deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players contracts for 2020, which would make him a free agent. The Astros could try to cut a pre-tender deadline deal with him, as he will miss the beginning of next season while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. He made $3.9 million last season and had a 5.89 ERA in 131 1/3 innings.

*McCullers will make the same $4.1 million salary he had in 2019 through the arbitration process because he missed the season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Notable pre-arbitration players

Most pre-arbitration players make only the major league minimum, which was $555,000 in 2019. That figure could rise slightly in 2020. Here are the Astros’ most prominent pre-arbitration players:

DH Yordan Alvarez
RHP José Urquidy
RHP Josh James
OF Kyle Tucker
OF Myles Straw
3B Abraham Toro
C Garrett Stubbs

Notable Rule 5 Draft-eligible players

Teams have until Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. CT to protect players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to their 40-man roster. The Rule 5 Draft will be held on the morning of Dec. 12 in San Diego, this year’s site of baseball’s annual winter meetings.

Here are the most notable Astros minor leaguers who will be Rule 5 eligible if not protected:

RHP Cristian Javier
RHP Enoli Paredes
1B/LF Taylor Jones
OF Drew Ferguson
OF Ronnie Dawson
IF Jonathan Arauz
RHP Carlos Sanabria
RHP Brandon Bailey

The five biggest Astros storylines of the offseason

1. Gerrit Cole’s free agency

The Astros are at great risk of losing one of the best pitchers in baseball and one of the two best players on this year’s free-agent market. Cole, only 29 and very much in his prime, has a chance to set records for a free-agent starting pitcher contract, be it by years, total salary, average annual value or all of the above.

He has a legitimate shot at becoming baseball’s first $250-million free-agent pitcher. At the least, he’ll all but certainly become the fourth pitcher in the $200 million club, which currently features David Price ($217 million over seven years), Max Scherzer ($210 million over seven years) and Greinke ($206.5 million over six years). At $34,416,667, Greinke owns the AAV record for a free-agent pitcher.

Nothing about the Astros’ past behavior in free agency suggests a Cole reunion is anything more than a long shot at this point. Under Luhnow, they have steered clear of megadeals in free agency, especially for pitchers. It is telling that their three-year, $30 million deal for Scott Feldman in 2014 remains their largest for a free-agent starting pitcher in Luhnow’s tenure and Reddick’s four-year, $52 million deal ahead of 2017 is still the largest overall for any of the team’s free-agent signings. Luhnow’s MO has been to spread the money around in free agency rather than invest a ton in one player’s salary.

The Astros could use another starter, though, especially if they plan to non-tender Sanchez. Urquidy could be their fourth or fifth starter, but a free-agent signing or trade acquisition would push Peacock back to the bullpen. Their starter depth to begin next season figures to include Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Forrest Whitley, Brandon Bielak, Francis Martes and Rogelio Armenteros.

2. An extension for George Springer?

Before each of the last two seasons, the Astros have locked up one of their cornerstone position players.

In March 2018, they ensured Altuve would be with the team through 2024 via a five-year, $151 million extension, the largest contract in franchise history. This past March, they signed Bregman through 2024 via a five-year, $100 million deal.

Whether Springer will be next figures to be the biggest storyline of next spring training. The three-time All-Star will be a free agent after next season, his age-30 campaign. The 2019 season was the best of his career despite his lowest games played total (122) since 2015.

Each of Springer, Brantley, Reddick and Marisnick are in line to be free agents after next season, and Tucker is the Astros’ only young outfielder close to or already in the majors who looks like he could be an everyday player in 2021. Alvarez can play left field part-time but might always get most of his at-bats as the designated hitter.

3. Will the Astros move Josh Reddick?

With Tucker having nothing left to prove in Triple A, Reddick is an obvious trade candidate to clear a corner outfield spot. However, the $13 million the Astros owe Reddick for 2020 looms as a significant obstacle to any potential deal.

Reddick, who will be 33 next year, has been a below-average offensive player in consecutive seasons. In 2019, he had only a .728 OPS that equated to an 89 OPS+. The Astros would probably have to pay down some of his salary to move him, and in that case they could instead opt to bring him back as a part-time player. Active rosters expand to 26 players next season, so the Astros could theoretically carry both Tucker and Reddick even at full strength.

Marisnick is another trade candidate, as the Astros have Myles Straw ready to assume the defense-first backup outfielder role.

4. Who will catch?

The Astros enter the offseason with only one catcher on their 40-man roster in Garrett Stubbs, who is unproven as a major leaguer. They could look to re-sign one or both of Robinson Chirinos and Martín Maldonado, two veterans who complemented each other nicely and collaborated well behind the scenes.

Both Chirinos and Maldonado played the 2019 season on one-year contracts, Chirinos for $5.75 million and Maldonado for $2.5 million. At this stage of their respective careers — Chirinos will be in his age-36 season next year and Maldonado his age-33 campaign — both are likely looking at one-year deals again this winter.

Other free-agent catchers include Yasmani Grandal, Alex Avila, Yan Gomes and ex-Astro Jason Castro.

5. Reinforcing the bullpen

With Osuna and Pressly back next season, the Astros have their closer/set-up man combination in place. But Harris is a free agent, and his consistency over the last five seasons could set up the 35-year-old righty for a contract in the range of two years and $6 million to $8 million annually.

The Astros are also down Smith, Rondón and McHugh. James will be back, and Devenski and Biagini are set to return as lower-leverage options. The acquisition of a starter would push Peacock back to the bullpen, but they would still be short a couple middle relievers. Bryan Abreu is a candidate, but there’s also a non-zero chance the Astros try to continue to develop him as a starter in Triple A.

 

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Just checked out Keith Law's list of the top-50 FAs. 

https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/27929231/keith-law-top-50-free-agents-anthony-rendon-gerrit-cole-headline-class

A few that may make some sense for the club:

(A) They'll need to add a catcher. Here are the ones on the list (and their FA rank):

#8 Yasmani Grandal

#44 Robinson Chirinos

#46 Tyler Flowers

#50 Travis d'Arnoud 

(B) Rotation guys (realistic signings, so not including Cole or Strasburg here):

#4 Zach Wheeler 

#9 Jake Odorizzi 

#11 Madison Bumgarner

#16 Kyle Gibson

#28 Homer Bailey

#32 Gio Gonzalez

#41 Rick Porcello

(C) Relief Pitchers:

#35 Will Smith 

#36 Will Harris

These are the guys from Law's 50-player list that seem to make some sense and be reasonably realistic signings. 

I don't expect them to be terribly active in free agency. Grandal would be nice offensively, but his defense is questionable and I'm not sure that is where the club would allocate dollars right now. I'd be fine with bringing Chirinos back, as there aren't a lot of obvious upgrades here. d'Arnoud is intriguing, as is a decent hitter but had durability issues. 

I don't expect the Astros to be in on Wheeler or Bumgarner or anyone like that...I'd expect something like they got with Miley last year, a 1-year deal. I could see Bailey, for example, taking a 1-year deal...I'd expect something like that. 

Will Smith would be nice...and bringing Harris back makes some sense. 

So...I'd expect something like an unexciting catcher signing, a short deal for a decent starter and a reliever. Let's say - bring back Chirinos (or maybe a guy like Yan Gomes or hell, even Castro), bring in Bailey on a 1-year deal and re-sign Harris. Would love to get Will Smith also to bolster the pen. 

 

Edited by Hank Chinaski

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Bring Chirinos back on a 1 year deal and platoon him with Stubbs to see if he can be an everyday catcher.

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astros fans are a funny breed.

"this offseason is going to suck!  we have no money, and nobody in the minors to make trades.  we're basically stuck with a bunch of all-stars, mvps, and future hall-of-famers just like the last 3 stupid teams that won 100 games i hate everything!"

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17 hours ago, David Dennison said:

We're in great shape.

Need to get George an extension.

You must be looking at different numbers. That FanGraphs table shows us above the luxury tax threshold in 2020 before we sign anyone new. 

Edited by TonyTexas

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19 minutes ago, henrygandorf said:

astros fans are a funny breed.

"this offseason is going to suck!  we have no money, and nobody in the minors to make trades.  we're basically stuck with a bunch of all-stars, mvps, and future hall-of-famers just like the last 3 stupid teams that won 100 games i hate everything!"

ha.  kinda, but not really.  each year you are either constructing a team that will be better or worse than the previous year.  It is really hard to imagine a scenario where the 2020 AStros are a better team than either the 2018 or 2019 versions of the astros.  That doesn't mean they will suck.  They will compete for the West and be the odds on favorite to win the division again.  That said, their playoff rotation as it stands today is not going to be as good as the last two versions.  It just isn't happening.  I say the over under on wins next year is 97.  

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I think he might be willing to spend 200 million on Cole if he will do a 4 or 5 year deal.  That depends on Cole being ok with not getting the most money possible in return for the chance to play for an actual contender.

Edited by kevwun

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7 minutes ago, kevwun said:

That depends on Cole being ok with not getting the most money possible in return for the chance to play for an actual contender.

I wish that's what Cole cares more about and that it carried more weight in his decision making... but we can all assume, that's not what Boras cares about. 

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It depends on the offers.  If the most he gets from a Cali team is say 225 and the Astros are offering 200 with at least half his games with no state income tax, it's not such a huge leap for him to stay.

Edited by kevwun

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26 minutes ago, Seasick Sailor said:

Take this for what its worth

i've been saying for a while now that i think a short deal that aligns with jv's window is a possibility on our end, but i don't think he'd take it.  something like 3-$125mm.  maybe with some options.

i don't know if it got posted, because i took a 2-3 day break from this section of the surly forum suite, but this was encouraging (after the stuff he said the night-of):

The 2019 season came to a sad end Wednesday for the Astros, who watched their 2-0 lead over the Nationals in Game 7 of the World Series evaporate during the latter stages of the contest. The club may now be on the verge of losing one of its best players, free-agent right-hander Gerrit Cole, who did not factor into its Game 7 loss. Speaking to reporters afterward, Cole sounded like someone who believes his Astros tenure is over.

“I’m not an employee of the team,” Cole said to an Astros spokesperson (via Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle). “I guess as a representative of myself…”

Cole was wearing a hat representing his agency, the Boras Corporation, at the time. But Cole indicated Thursday (per Atkins) that didn’t mean anything, calling the cap “a good luck charm.” He also walked back his comments from Wednesday, saying: “I was upset, and my tone did not come off quite the way I wanted it to. One win away. We had the lead with eight outs to go. It’s just a tough pill to swallow.”

After starter Zack Greinke exited with a 2-1 lead, one out and a runner on first in the top of the seventh inning, the Astros could have subbed in Cole and attempted to ride to the finish line with the potential AL Cy Young winner. However, in fairness to manager A.J. Hinch, Cole has not pitched in relief since his days at UCLA. With that in mind, Hinch turned to Will Harris – who was brilliant for most of the postseason – and then closer Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith and Jose Urquidy. In the end, the team’s relief corps failed miserably in what wound up as a 6-2 year-ending implosion for the Astros.

Of course, even a championship-clinching win Wednesday wouldn’t have changed the fact that the Astros have their work cut out for them in trying to keep Cole. At the outset of the playoffs, owner Jim Crane admitted he’s unsure whether Houston will be able to put a legitimate bid on the table for Cole, who seems more and more likely to blow past David Price’s seven-year, $217MM contract and sign the richest deal ever for a pitcher. Concerns over the luxury tax could help bring an end to Cole’s run with the Astros after two extraordinarily productive seasons, but despite the frustration the 29-year-old showed Wednesday, he’s not closing the door on a potential new agreement with Houston.

“I’m really grateful for this experience. I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m not saying goodbye, by any means,” Cole said Thursday. “I truthfully don’t have a crystal ball. I could speak to what I know. And I know that I’ve loved every second here and I loved competing with the guys.”

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That reminds me that I saw my favorite Astros' tshirt possibly ever at game 6.  It looks like a presidential campaign tshirt and said Verlander Cole 2019.  I want one that says 2020.

Edited by kevwun

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Offseason primer from Kaplan
Good stuff as usual


It is a testament to the talent and depth of players on the Astros roster that they remain in enviable shape even after subtracting the best starting pitcher on this offseason’s free-agent market in Gerrit Cole.

But as general manager Jeff Luhnow plans for 2020 and beyond, he and his front office face new challenges. The team’s payroll flexibility is limited, even if owner Jim Crane decides he’ll exceed the first competitive balance tax threshold of $208 million. The farm system is no longer flush with trade assets. And three of the top six hitters in the lineup are entering contract years.

Reinforcing the margins of the roster will require creativity from Luhnow, who just completed his eighth season running the team. The Astros are set to return virtually all of their 2019 lineup, and Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr. will be the top three in their rotation. But they also begin the offseason with no proven catchers and almost half a bullpen to fill while already having a projected opening day payroll pushing that $208 million mark.

“Every team has limits. There’s not unlimited spending potential for at least most teams. We’re one that has limits,” Luhnow said. “We have to spend wisely. That’s part of the front office’s job, and we’ve done that in the past. We’ve been reaching all-time payroll highs every year for the past four or five years and that will probably continue next year.

“How we allocate those resources is something that we spend a lot of time thinking about and how we commit resources for the future, as well. Because committing resources for 2025 right now comes with a lot of risk. We’re going to do all of that analysis, we’re going to be negotiating hard to try and figure out how we use the resources we have. But I’m very satisfied, as the head of baseball operations, with the support that we’ve received from ownership and expect that to continue.”

Luhnow’s objective has always been to build a sustainable winner, not a team with a limited contention window that has to undergo another rebuild. After falling eight outs shy of a second title in three years, the Astros are primed to contend for another World Series next season. But as he seeks reinforcements for 2020, Luhnow will also be cognizant of any given transaction’s implications for 2021 and beyond, when several of the team’s best players could be elsewhere.

Meanwhile, he must also confront the fallout of Brandon Taubman’s firing. The disgraced former assistant GM’s influence in the team’s baseball operations department was vast, and it remains unclear as to how Luhnow will restructure his front office in the wake of the dismissal of his top lieutenant. Outside hires or internal promotions could be forthcoming.

The confluence of all these factors will make this a fascinating next few months for the Astros. What follows is a guide to their 2019-20 offseason, which began in earnest on Monday.

Free agents

These eight Astros became free agents on Thursday and will be eligible to sign with a team as soon as Monday at 4:01 p.m. CT.

RHP Gerrit Cole*
RHP Will Harris
C Robinson Chirinos
C Martín Maldonado
LHP Wade Miley
RHP Joe Smith
RHP Collin McHugh
RHP Héctor Rondón

*The Astros will extend Cole a one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer before Monday’s 4 p.m. CT deadline to do so, which he will decline. If Cole signs with another team, the Astros will recoup a compensatory draft pick in Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round. For context, the Competitive Balance Round B picks in the 2019 draft ranged from Nos. 70-77 overall.

Salary guarantees

2B José Altuve, $145 million over five years
3B Alex Bregman, $100 million over five years
RHP Justin Verlander, $66 million over two years
RHP Zack Greinke, $49.3 million over two years*
RHP Ryan Pressly, $17.5 million over two years*
LF Michael Brantley, $16 million over one year
RF Josh Reddick, $13 million over one year
1B Yuli Gurriel, $8 million over one year

*When the Astros acquired Greinke, they agreed to pay $53 million of the $77 million he was owed through the 2021 season. It is unclear exactly how much of that $53 million the Astros owe Greinke in each of the ’20 and ’21 seasons, as his six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks included salary deferrals and a signing bonus to be paid out in various installments. Spotrac projects the Astros to be on the hook for $24.6 million in ’20 and ’21, so we’re using that figure for this projection.

*Pressly’s contract also calls for a $10 million option for 2022 that vests if he pitches in 60 games in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. If Pressly doesn’t make 60 appearances in each of those seasons, it turns into a club option that would be valued between $7 million and $10 million, depending on his number of appearances in 2021.

Arbitration-eligible players

These Astros are eligible to go through the salary arbitration process this offseason. Most players get three years of arbitration while players who qualify for Super Two status get four. The estimated 2020 salaries below are courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com’s projection model.

Most of these arbitration cases will likely be settled without a hearing. If the sides don’t agree to terms beforehand, the players’ agents and the team will exchange proposed salary figures in January. If they can’t find common ground, an independent three-person panel will hear both sides and choose one proposed salary figure or the other.

Player Year of arbitration Projected 2020 salary
OF George Springer 4 of 4 $21.4 million
RHP Roberto Osuna 3 of 4 $10.2 million
SS Carlos Correa 2 of 3 $7.4 million
RHP Aaron Sanchez* 3 of 3 $5.6 million
RHP Brad Peacock 3 of 3 $4.6 million
RHP Lance McCullers* 3 of 4 $4.1 million
OF Jake Marisnick 4 of 4 $3.0 million
IF Aledmys Díaz 1 of 3 $2.4 million
RHP Chris Devenski* 2 of 3 $2.0 million
RHP Joe Biagini 2 of 4 $1.5 million
*Devenski has a $2.825 million club option for 2020 that will be declined if the Astros, like MLBTradeRumors.com, project Devenski to make less than that salary through the arbitration process. He’s under team control through the 2021 season regardless. It’s simply a matter of determining his 2020 salary.

*Sanchez is a candidate to be non-tendered before the Dec. 2 deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players contracts for 2020, which would make him a free agent. The Astros could try to cut a pre-tender deadline deal with him, as he will miss the beginning of next season while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. He made $3.9 million last season and had a 5.89 ERA in 131 1/3 innings.

*McCullers will make the same $4.1 million salary he had in 2019 through the arbitration process because he missed the season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Notable pre-arbitration players

Most pre-arbitration players make only the major league minimum, which was $555,000 in 2019. That figure could rise slightly in 2020. Here are the Astros’ most prominent pre-arbitration players:

DH Yordan Alvarez
RHP José Urquidy
RHP Josh James
OF Kyle Tucker
OF Myles Straw
3B Abraham Toro
C Garrett Stubbs

Notable Rule 5 Draft-eligible players

Teams have until Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. CT to protect players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to their 40-man roster. The Rule 5 Draft will be held on the morning of Dec. 12 in San Diego, this year’s site of baseball’s annual winter meetings.

Here are the most notable Astros minor leaguers who will be Rule 5 eligible if not protected:

RHP Cristian Javier
RHP Enoli Paredes
1B/LF Taylor Jones
OF Drew Ferguson
OF Ronnie Dawson
IF Jonathan Arauz
RHP Carlos Sanabria
RHP Brandon Bailey

The five biggest Astros storylines of the offseason

1. Gerrit Cole’s free agency

The Astros are at great risk of losing one of the best pitchers in baseball and one of the two best players on this year’s free-agent market. Cole, only 29 and very much in his prime, has a chance to set records for a free-agent starting pitcher contract, be it by years, total salary, average annual value or all of the above.

He has a legitimate shot at becoming baseball’s first $250-million free-agent pitcher. At the least, he’ll all but certainly become the fourth pitcher in the $200 million club, which currently features David Price ($217 million over seven years), Max Scherzer ($210 million over seven years) and Greinke ($206.5 million over six years). At $34,416,667, Greinke owns the AAV record for a free-agent pitcher.

Nothing about the Astros’ past behavior in free agency suggests a Cole reunion is anything more than a long shot at this point. Under Luhnow, they have steered clear of megadeals in free agency, especially for pitchers. It is telling that their three-year, $30 million deal for Scott Feldman in 2014 remains their largest for a free-agent starting pitcher in Luhnow’s tenure and Reddick’s four-year, $52 million deal ahead of 2017 is still the largest overall for any of the team’s free-agent signings. Luhnow’s MO has been to spread the money around in free agency rather than invest a ton in one player’s salary.

The Astros could use another starter, though, especially if they plan to non-tender Sanchez. Urquidy could be their fourth or fifth starter, but a free-agent signing or trade acquisition would push Peacock back to the bullpen. Their starter depth to begin next season figures to include Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Forrest Whitley, Brandon Bielak, Francis Martes and Rogelio Armenteros.

2. An extension for George Springer?

Before each of the last two seasons, the Astros have locked up one of their cornerstone position players.

In March 2018, they ensured Altuve would be with the team through 2024 via a five-year, $151 million extension, the largest contract in franchise history. This past March, they signed Bregman through 2024 via a five-year, $100 million deal.

Whether Springer will be next figures to be the biggest storyline of next spring training. The three-time All-Star will be a free agent after next season, his age-30 campaign. The 2019 season was the best of his career despite his lowest games played total (122) since 2015.

Each of Springer, Brantley, Reddick and Marisnick are in line to be free agents after next season, and Tucker is the Astros’ only young outfielder close to or already in the majors who looks like he could be an everyday player in 2021. Alvarez can play left field part-time but might always get most of his at-bats as the designated hitter.

3. Will the Astros move Josh Reddick?

With Tucker having nothing left to prove in Triple A, Reddick is an obvious trade candidate to clear a corner outfield spot. However, the $13 million the Astros owe Reddick for 2020 looms as a significant obstacle to any potential deal.

Reddick, who will be 33 next year, has been a below-average offensive player in consecutive seasons. In 2019, he had only a .728 OPS that equated to an 89 OPS+. The Astros would probably have to pay down some of his salary to move him, and in that case they could instead opt to bring him back as a part-time player. Active rosters expand to 26 players next season, so the Astros could theoretically carry both Tucker and Reddick even at full strength.

Marisnick is another trade candidate, as the Astros have Myles Straw ready to assume the defense-first backup outfielder role.

4. Who will catch?

The Astros enter the offseason with only one catcher on their 40-man roster in Garrett Stubbs, who is unproven as a major leaguer. They could look to re-sign one or both of Robinson Chirinos and Martín Maldonado, two veterans who complemented each other nicely and collaborated well behind the scenes.

Both Chirinos and Maldonado played the 2019 season on one-year contracts, Chirinos for $5.75 million and Maldonado for $2.5 million. At this stage of their respective careers — Chirinos will be in his age-36 season next year and Maldonado his age-33 campaign — both are likely looking at one-year deals again this winter.

Other free-agent catchers include Yasmani Grandal, Alex Avila, Yan Gomes and ex-Astro Jason Castro.

5. Reinforcing the bullpen

With Osuna and Pressly back next season, the Astros have their closer/set-up man combination in place. But Harris is a free agent, and his consistency over the last five seasons could set up the 35-year-old righty for a contract in the range of two years and $6 million to $8 million annually.

The Astros are also down Smith, Rondón and McHugh. James will be back, and Devenski and Biagini are set to return as lower-leverage options. The acquisition of a starter would push Peacock back to the bullpen, but they would still be short a couple middle relievers. Bryan Abreu is a candidate, but there’s also a non-zero chance the Astros try to continue to develop him as a starter in Triple A.

 


Finally got back to finishing reading this

This needs to be required reading for anyone posting in the offseason thread

Great summary of important dates and well as current financial/contract situation of basically everyone currently in the org that could contribute in 2020.

He doesn’t speculate too much on FA targets on the pitching staff, but other than that, I didn’t see much uncovered here.

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1 hour ago, TonyTexas said:

You must be looking at different numbers. That FanGraphs table shows us above the luxury tax threshold in 2020 before we sign anyone new. 

So what? 

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16 minutes ago, Mack Tripper said:

Making at run at it means he's getting his qualifying offer by 4 pm today. 

He was getting a qualifying offer even if we had no intention of signing him. Why pass up on a compensation pick? 

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2 minutes ago, Mo Horn said:

He was getting a qualifying offer even if we had no intention of signing him. Why pass up on a compensation pick? 

Exactly. That's going to be the extent of the "run" unless a Boras client who rocks a Boras ballcap does something very un-Boras like. 

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Boras hasn't been that big of a pain in the ass in recent years.  Also, that cap is apparently something Cole wears regularly and he got pulled in to that interview at the last minute.  I am not saying I think Cole stays or anything, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Edited by kevwun

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2 hours ago, Hank Chinaski said:

Just checked out Keith Law's list of the top-50 FAs. 

https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/27929231/keith-law-top-50-free-agents-anthony-rendon-gerrit-cole-headline-class

A few that may make some sense for the club:

(A) They'll need to add a catcher. Here are the ones on the list (and their FA rank):

#8 Yasmani Grandal

#44 Robinson Chirinos

#46 Tyler Flowers

#50 Travis d'Arnoud 

(B) Rotation guys (realistic signings, so not including Cole or Strasburg here):

#4 Zach Wheeler 

#9 Jake Odorizzi 

#11 Madison Bumgarner

#16 Kyle Gibson

#28 Homer Bailey

#32 Gio Gonzalez

#41 Rick Porcello

(C) Relief Pitchers:

#35 Will Smith 

#36 Will Harris

These are the guys from Law's 50-player list that seem to make some sense and be reasonably realistic signings. 

I don't expect them to be terribly active in free agency. Grandal would be nice offensively, but his defense is questionable and I'm not sure that is where the club would allocate dollars right now. I'd be fine with bringing Chirinos back, as there aren't a lot of obvious upgrades here. d'Arnoud is intriguing, as is a decent hitter but had durability issues. 

I don't expect the Astros to be in on Wheeler or Bumgarner or anyone like that...I'd expect something like they got with Miley last year, a 1-year deal. I could see Bailey, for example, taking a 1-year deal...I'd expect something like that. 

Will Smith would be nice...and bringing Harris back makes some sense. 

So...I'd expect something like an unexciting catcher signing, a short deal for a decent starter and a reliever. Let's say - bring back Chirinos (or maybe a guy like Yan Gomes or hell, even Castro), bring in Bailey on a 1-year deal and re-sign Harris. Would love to get Will Smith also to bolster the pen. 

 

Do you have the full text from the Law list?

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