Houston Astros: Five things atop the team’s Christmas wish list

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 30: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 30: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros pitchers Verlander and Cole
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 16: Verlander and Cole of the Houston Astros (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

An extension or two

Just a few months apart the Houston Astros acquired two players who would both finish the 2018 season in the top five for Cy Young voting. Justin Verlander got second and has a really good case that he was robbed of the award. Gerrit Cole had a terrific first season as an Astro and is going to look to continue to build his resume this season.

Verlander is in the final year of a massive extension that many probably thought would be his last big money deal. However, coming to Houston has revitalized his career and he’s pitched some his best baseball in an Astros uniform. He’s a free agent after the 2019 season and has earned another big payday, albeit on a shorter deal.

Cole is also in his final year of arbitration before entering the free agency for the first time in his professional career. He’s set for a major raise in his final year of arbitration since he easily had the best year of his career in 2018. He, like Verlander, should be able to contend for the Cy Young in the coming season.

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The terrifying fact about them both entering the final year of their deals is that it will come a year after the Houston Astros had to fill three rotation spots. Sure, McCullers should be returning for 2020 but there is no guarantee he can replace them especially with his prior injury history.

The Astros need to dole out some extensions this offseason to these guys to ensure they’ll return for 2020 in beyond. If they had to choose, Cole is the more appealing option as he likely has more years of baseball left than Verlander but if they’re able to extend both, they should do it.