Who might the Astros target in free agency?
Now that free agency is underway, we anxiously await the Astros’ first signing. Nothing could happen until next month’s Winter Meetings, but the Astros are going to spend some money, perhaps pushing their payroll to $60 million. Still, I don’t envision them making a run at any of the big names, who likely wouldn’t target a rebuilding club anyway.
They sorely need relief help, along with a veteran starting pitcher and a corner outfielder with some pop. Having gone through the list of free agents, I’ve plucked a few names that could be headed to Houston – players who could be had on two-year deals that wouldn’t break the bank.
Some of these players might be reclamation projects, but the reality is it could be hard for the Astros to land some players because they lost 111 games last season.
Anyway, here’s the list of potential Astros free agents:
Corey Hart – He’s coming off knee surgeries, but when healthy he’s good for 30 homers and respectable average and on-base percentage.
Marlon Byrd – Coming off one his best seasons with the Pirates and Mets at age 36.
David Murphy – The Houston-area product had a down year, but he’s been good for .275 average, 15 homers, 75 RBIs yearly.
Nate McLouth – Doesn’t hit for much power anymore, which might not make him a fit with Astros.
Jose Veras – The Astros may have goofed in trading Veras in July considering their bullpen woes. He was a solid clubhouse citizen and liked it in Houston, so maybe he comes back?
Jesse Crain – The University of Houston product has proven to be a solid late-inning reliever when healthy.
Ryan Madson – Former Phillies closer could be had on the cheap after missing last two years following Tommy John surgery.
Pat Neshek – Member of Oakland’s bullpen the last two seasons, but not a key one.
Francisco Rodriguez – Posted pretty good numbers last season and would certainly like to close again.
Chris Perez – Former Indians closer struggled for much of last season and he wasn’t exactly a model citizen. But he does throw hard.
Joel Hanrahan – Saved 76 games in 2011-12 before Tommy John surgery cost him nearly the entire 2013 season.
Edward Mujica – An All-Star with the Cardinals this year who had a terrible September.
David Aardsma – Former Rice University closer is looking for another opportunity.
James McDonald – He had two incredibly similar and consistent seasons in 2011 and 2012 before getting injured.
Shaun Marcum – Had a season to forget this year, but is only two years removed from 13 wins.
Roy Halladay – His career could be over, but maybe he’d be worth giving a look if he’d even considering Houston at this point.
Ryan Vogelsong – The Giants declined the $6.5-million option on Vogelsong, who had a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts.
Jason Hammel – Has never been really good or really terrible. He would serve as an upgrade over Bedard.
Scott Feldman – Went a combined 12-12 with a 3.86 ERA in 30 starts with the Orioles and Cubs.
Colby Lewis – Hip surgery limited him to 16 starts last season, but he had 200 innings in each of the two seasons prior.
Jason Vargas – Has been an innings eater the previous four years in Seattle, so he knows the division.
Mike Pelfrey – He’s only 29 and could still regain pre-Tommy John surgery form he had with Mets.
Kevin Slowey - Didn’t pitch too poorly with the Marlins last season.