Some random Astros off-season thoughts

Here are some random thoughts for the offseason.

The Astros should not trade for Sonny Gray.

He’s not good enough right now. And he hasn’t been for a few years.

Steamer pegs gray at a 4.14 ERA in 2019, in 119 mostly-relief innings.  If he were projected as a full-time starter, that projected ERA would be closer to 4.40.

I don’t care about spin rate, he’s not worth the expected trade cost.

For comparison, here are Steamer projections for in-house options:

Josh James: 3.96 ERA in 142 innings (all starts)
Brad Peacock: 4.33 ERA in 125 innings (all starts)
Collin McHugh: 3.53 ERA in 65 IP (all in relief, for some reason)
Forrest Whitley: 4.59 ERA in 92 IP (all starts).

Gray is projected to be as bad or worse than all of the Astros’ in-house options at SP, except for Whitley, the top pitching prospect in America. Why give up any assets for Gray at all when there are other more viable trade targets?

The Astros should not trade for Realmuto

This one should stir the pot.  The Astros should not trade for catcher J.T. Realmuto. He’s good at the plate, for a catcher. (note: for a catcher) And he’s good on defense.

But scuttlebutt is that it would take two top-100, maybe top-50, prospects to land him, and bidding is sure to be fierce.

If I’m the Astros, I’m looking at the free agent market.  Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki, Robinson Chirinos, Martin Maldonado, Matt Wieters, A.J. Ellis, Devin Mesoraco, Jonathan Lucroy, and Brian McCann are all good enough for this club, and won’t cost two big-time future assets.

Consider HanRam

The Astros should consider Hanley Ramirez to replace Marwin Gonzalez as the swiss-army DH/LF/SS/3B/1B guy on the club.

The former MVP vote-getter didn’t play much in 2018, and his best days are behind him.  But as recently as 2017 he batted .242/.320/.429 (92 wRC+).  In 2016 he belted 30 home runs and hit .286/.361/.505.

He is playing winter ball to try to attract a major league suitor, and will probably come cheap.

While, to be gentle, he sucks at defense, he’s arguably not meaningfully worse than Gonzalez (even though fans don’t want to admit that).

Ramirez won’t turn 35 until December. If he’s healthy and looking good in winter ball, he could be a useful guy to have on the club.

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