The General Managers’ meetings began on Monday and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow had some interesting things to say when speaking to new Astros beat writer Evan Drellich. Drellich just started on the Astros beat yesterday, and already has put out four interesting articles for Astros fans. You can give the new Astros beat writer a follow at @EvanDrellich.
Jeff Luhnow made it clear that Astros are looking at potential big bats this offseason. Luhnow confirmed yesterday that the team went after Jose Abreu but ultimately fell just short. The Astros want to add an impact bat but the question is where? It seems like outfield would be the most ideal fit with first base being a possibility as well. Don’t expect the Astros to add a bat if it’s blocking a young player from playing time.
While the addition of a big bat is possible, the fact that they may have to lose a draft pick could be a problem. The Astros have been linked to Shin-Soo Choo but signing him would mean they’d lose their 2nd-round pick, originally acquired in the Bud Norris trade from the Baltimore Orioles. Any player that rejected their qualifying offer and signs with another team, would require the team relinquishing a draft pick to the player’s original team. According to Luhnow, the Astros would “have to think hard” about losing a draft pick for a player.
Why may the Astros be willing to lose a draft pick? It’s because they have arguably the best farm system and baseball and it may be time to start dealing a few prospects for a major piece. Here’s what Jeff Luhnow had to say.
“We’ve been accumulating talent and the idea is to use that talent to help us win at the major league level. Whether that comes through trades or players naturally getting there and playing for us, we have to consider all of our alternatives. We know we need to improve at the big league level, and it needs to start next year and it needs to be significant. We’re not going to disrupt our strategy. Our strategy’s pretty clear, and it does involve building our own assets from within, and we’ve been doing that. So we’re not going to do anything to block any of our players or disrupt their development. But you can argue that we’re in a position where we have some areas of excess in terms of future talent, and we could potentially use some of that to get something.”
One former prospect who has started to bloom in Houston is Jason Castro. Castro, 26, batted .276 this season with 18 home runs in 120 games this past season. Teams are reportedly interested in Castro and it’s possible the Astros decide to trade their All-Star catcher. Castro is eligible for arbitration for the first time and may be in line for a possible extension. Talks have yet to start this offseason and conversations likely won’t start until closer to January.
Evan Drellich Articles Through First Day of GM Meetings
- Astros willing to spend to add a big bat
- Significant free agents possible
- Astros not afraid to deal some young talent
- Jason Castro extension talks