The Houston Astros 2018 season is officially over as is their quest to repeat. But, these five bold free agency moves could get them to the 2019 World Series.
This is how this was supposed to go. The Houston Astros were supposed to breeze past the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS behind a historic pitching staff and a powerful offense that can do a ton of damage throughout the lineup. Instead, the Red Sox continued their incredible season and handily defeated the Astros in five games, including winning three in a row in Houston.
The pitching staff wasn’t quite as strong as the team was accustomed to. Justin Verlander had an incredible game one but after that, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, and then Verlander all struggled to stop the potent Boston offense.
The Astros offense, typically led by Jose Altuve, faltered. The Red Sox finally found a way to slow down Alex Bregman and Altuve struggled while playing through a patellar avulsion fracture. Simply put, the Red Sox just outplayed the Astros and earned the right to represent the American League in the World Series.
Fortunately, the Houston Astros contention window is still wide open. All of the stars on offense are still with the team for years to come. Altuve is locked down, Carlos Correa still has years of arbitration eligibility, and Alex Bregman hasn’t even hit arbitration. George Springer could be the first one to potentially hit the market as his last year of arbitration is the 2020 season.
The pitching outlook is slightly more bleak but that is the strength of the Astros farm system. Verlander has one more year left on his current contract while Cole is entering his last year of arbitration before he reaches free agency. Keuchel and Morton are free agents this year.
So, the contention window is there but there are still holes that need to be filled if the Houston Astros truly want to improve and get to the World Series in 2019. Let’s take a look at five bold, blockbusting moves the team can make to ensure that that happens.