Monday, the Baseball Winter Meeting start. What should the Astros do NEXT WEEK?
This is going to be a quick post that builds on many of the things we have talked about previously. I am going to make this focused and direct and without a ton of stats (those are in the various articles that precede this.)
Starting LHH OF- if payroll space is available
As a reminder, the Astros are at $230-235M in projected 2024 CBT payroll. The CBT1 is $237M. The are probably willing to go to about $250-255M IF those are one-year deals or VERY cost effective.
So here is my Winter Meeting Checklist for the Astros. I am going to lean to Free Agent signings as the primary move but trades here are also an option.
Step 1- Sign Victor Caratini
I think Caratini is almost the perfect match for Diaz as a backup Catcher that could step up if he had to. He is 30 and has over 6 years of service time which makes him just right as a not too old veteran. Caratini is a better framer than Diaz but is worse at everything else. Yet his Defensive WAR per inning number is good.
Cost- $3-4M AAV - 2 Year
If they cannot get Caratini, maybe a one-year deal for Tom Murphy is in order. I would still be interested in a Carson Kelly trade too.
Step 2- Sign Scott Alexander or Jake Diekman
I want a high leverage LHRP. Both of these guys have a projected ERA of 3.85-3.90. How much will it take? Will either take a one-year deal? Matt Moore might be another option. The other option is to trade for a lottery ticket like Garrett Crochet.
Cost- $4-6M AAV - 1 Year
I am not sure THIS gets done during the winter meetings. They may have to wait out the three FA LHRP I mentioned.
Step 3- Sign Wade Miley or Sean Manaea
I want a LHSP who has the flexibility to be a long relief pitcher. These two meet that need. Will Manaea take a one-year deal? That may determine which of these two I would sign.
Cost- $8-12M AAV - 1 Year
Noted: Miley was re-signed by the Brewers for 1-year, $7M on 12/4/23
That means those three moves will have spent my self-imposed budget.
These are my priorities for Astros at the 2023 Winter Meetings.
I will caution folks that some of these deals may not get done until January as the Astros wait for the market to come to their price point.
Very few will tell you that. I just did.
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