There were a lot of people talking about the Astros needs to be a contender this off season being very extensive… I on the other hand am one to think that the Astros are just a few key moves away from being in playoff contention. My reasoning? Well… let’s take it one step at a time.
The bullpen is pretty much okay in my opinion. My assumptions are that Valverde, Wright, Sampson, Byrdak and Geary will all be back. I think Brocail might be back as well and I hope we get Hawkins back… but we’ll see. In my opinion, that’s a pretty decent bullpen… maybe I think too highly of Sampson as a reliever… we’ll see.. I don’t think there is really a glaring need in the bullpen. Maybe we pick up someone to fill some space or maybe a minor leaguer comes in and fills a hole… no worries here.
The infield is set. Berkman, Matsui, Tejada and Wigginton can fill the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and short and I’m okay with Quintero as the catcher. Maybe Towles makes the team… maybe someone else comes out of the woodwork’s and takes the backup(or starters role)… but I’m not seeing this as a glaring need either.
The outfield… Lee/Pence are set… I’m good with that. I’d like to see us pick up someone to either take over right field and move Pence back to center, or someone to take over some playing time in center and not have to rely on Michael Bourn to sit in that position. Some people say the Astros should go after Rocco Baldelli. I would be okay with that. I’d also be happy with going after a guy like Garret Anderson… but I think he’ll probably stay in California. Adam Dunn isn’t an option(we can’t have 2 OF spots filled by below average defensive players), but maybe a guy like Scott Podsednik… Okay, I realize his .253 avg isn’t all that exciting and that he only had 162 AB’s last season… but we could probably get him on the cheap and I have faith that he can be more productive than Bourn. One downer is that he’s a lefty, so there wouldn’t be a platoon option with him and Bourn.
That leaves… the real glaring need in my opinion… the rotation. Okay, so we have Oswalt, Rodriguez and Moehler set in the rotation(at least for the start). Maybe Backe is in there somewhere(if he’s even on the team)… The Astros seem to really want to get Wolf back… he’s still a question mark in my mind whether he’s even a good pitcher or not. Even getting Wolf back means we still need another pitcher… and he needs to be a #2 or better pitcher. Sheets would work… but then again, he would have to stay healthy. I’m not even going to mention Sabathia, because he’s not going to be an option. A couple other names to throw out would be Jon Garland, and Derek Lowe. Maybe a guy like Orlando Hernandez? But we definitely need a #2 pitcher.
That’s pretty much it. Yea, we’ll need a few fill in players… but no real huge needs. Maybe I’m too optimistic… but I think this team could at least sniff at being a playoff team with as little as 1 signing… the # 2 pitcher. Obviously I’m saying this as a minimum. If I’m saying what I would like to have(reasonably), I’d ask for the #2 pitcher, a better than average CF and another catcher who can hit at least .260(and doesn’t hurt you behind the plate). I don’t think that would be too much to ask either.