The Houston Astros haven’t been all that busy the past few years in the offseason. They’ve signed older veterans to get them through the year. Last year’s offseason acquisitions included Jose Veras, Carlos Pena, and Rick Ankiel. However, this year, they’re actually spending real money. They’ve traded for Dexter Fowler, and they’ve signed Scott Feldman to a three year, 30 million dollar contract. They also brought in a former Astro Chad Qualls at two years 6 million dollars with an option for a third year at 3.5 million dollars. Those acquisitions could just be the tip of the iceberg for the Astros as the head into the Winter Meetings.
According to Brian McTaggart, the Astros are still in the market to add another reliever, as well as a middle of the order bat. Whether the Astros would trade for those guys is beyond me. I don’t think the Astros the spend millions of dollars, but they’re suggesting that they’re staying on track to raise the payroll up to 60 million dollars this year, and they’re not there yet.
Out of the relievers that are available in free agency, I would love for the Astros to take a look into Andrew Bailey, though he may be out of their price range. Another guy I would love for the Astros to sign would be Jose Veras. Veras was a big piece of the Astros bullpen last year, seeing as how they blew 10 saves in the month of August after he was traded, and 29 as a whole throughout the season.
Where things get a little weird is the Astros acquiring a “middle of the order” bat. There aren’t many on the free agent market unless you include Corey Hart, who would potentially hit 5th or 6th. However, the Phillies just made Dominic Brown available. If you remember correctly, the Astros tried to acquire Brown last season, and they may pick talks back up, but I’m not sure how big a possibility that is.
Nothing is imminent involving the Astros, but one can only imagine that they’ll be active in the market during the Winter Meetings. We’ll see were this leads, and as always, we’ll keep you updated if anything happens.
Truth be told, when the Houston Astros first signed Scott Feldman, I was skeptical. Still am a little bit. The more I think of it, the more I like the signing. When news of it first broke on twitter, there was a bit of a mixed reaction. If fact, mine was something like “NOOOOOO!!” I wasn’t a fan of the money, nor was I too thrilled about the years on the contract. The Yankees, Orioles, Twins, and Astros were all interested in the former Oriole. However, it was the Astros who locked him up for 3 years, 30 million dollars.
Feldman isn’t a high profile signing, but he certainly makes the Astros better today than they were yesterday. He isn’t going to change this franchise, but he certainly adds some wins to the Astros this year. Last year with the Chicago Cubs and the Baltimore Orioles, Feldman went 12-12 with a 3.86 ERA. According to Steamer, a FanGraphs projector, projects that Feldman will go 12-11 with a 3.91 ERA. His FIP (fielding independent pitching), which measures what a pitcher’s ERA would be if the performance on balls in play were league average, is projected to be 3.67. Oliver, another FanGraphs projection, projected Feldman to finish with a record of 10-8, an ERA of 3.61, and a FIP of 3.97. Oliver projects his WAR (wins above replacement) to be 1.6, while Steamer projects his WAR to be 2.6.
The more I think about this trade, the more I like. Feldman’s strikeout to walk ratio is creeping up to about 3/1. Feldman isn’t the most spectacular signing, but he is effective. He eats innings, he gets groundballs, he doesn’t walk many. Overall, this signing isn’t a spectacular deal for the Astros, but it is a decent one.