With the off-season in full effect and many players hitting the free agency market, which players should the Houston Astros target?
The Houston Astros this off-season need mainly a shortstop (if Carlos Correa does leave) and some pitching. Here are my picks for who I"d like to see suit up for the ‘Stros in 2022.
1. Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman is set to become a free agent this winter, and he is coming off one of his best seasons so far in his career. Stroman finished his 2021 campaign with the New York Mets with an earned run average(ERA) of 3.02, 158 strikeouts, as well as walks and hits per innings pitched ratio (WHIP) of 1.14
Stroman would be a great fit for the Astros as they need a fifth man in their starting rotation with the potential loss of both Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander, and Stroman can be just that.
The Astros starting rotation as it stands right now is full of young arms and even though he is 30, Stroman can still pitch with the rest of them.
2. Robbie Ray
Robbie Ray is undoubtedly coming off his best season ever in which he may win the American League Cy Young award. Ray is set to become a free agent this winter as well although it"s uncertain if the Blue Jays will retain him.
Ray finished 2021 with an ERA of 2.84, 248 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.045.
I"d prefer Ray over any other pitcher personally because aside from Framber Valdez, the Astros don"t have a left-handed pitcher in their starting rotation. They did well with just Framber last season, but it wouldn"t hurt to add another really talented arm to the rotation.
3. Trevor Story
Shortstop Trevor Story did great last season despite not getting the trade away from Colorado he had hoped for this season. Story batted .251 with 24 home runs and 78 RBIs.
If Correa does in fact leave Houston, the Astros might be the favorites in the shortstop market, thus meaning players like Story have a chance.
Story is a phenomenal defender, and Houston will need someone to fill the void left by Correa. I predict Story will land in Houston.
4. Mike Zunino
Astros catcher Martin Maldonado is set to become a free agent this winter, and if the Astros want to sign a power bat in the catching position, they should look no further than Mike Zunino.
Zunino in 2021 batted a .216 average with 33 home runs and 62 RBIs. Both of which are amazing for a catcher.
The Astros have good catchers defensively already, but their lineup would be scarier if they added another power bat in the nine spots in the lineup.
The free agency is one of the best parts of the MLB season, and it gets crazier every year with players going to teams that one would never think of.
The Astros have some decisions to make this off-season, and it"ll be fun to watch them make these decisions.
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