Houston Astros: Assessing pitching needs for the 2020 season

Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros came just shy of another World Series title. To get back in 2020, they need to address pitching needs first. Here’s what they should do.

The old Game of Thrones saying of “Winter is Coming” applies greatly to the current state of the Houston Astros. The offseason presents many decisions and moves that will need to be made before the 2020 season. Namely, as it relates to the pitching needs for the team.

Although Houston Astros owner, Jim Crane, has gone on record to say he will make a push to retain Gerrit Cole, the likelihood of that happening is slim to nil. Frankly, it doesn’t provide a whole lot of confidence when Cole himself wrote a goodbye letter of sorts to the people of Houston:

It should go without saying that the Houston Astros need to address their starting pitching rotation. Justin Verlander will be here for 2020, at the very least. You then have a full two more seasons of Zack Greinke, who pitched a gem in Game 7 of the World Series, despite the Houston Astros falling short of the title.

Lance McCullers Jr. coming back off of Tommy John’s surgery will be a big answer to the pitching needs for the team. Nevertheless, it still leaves two spots in question. Wade Miley is also a free agent, and both Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh — who is a free agent — will likely stay in the bullpen.

So how do these pitching needs get addressed? Simply put, the Houston Astros will need to look internally to a candidate like Jose Urquidy or take to the free-agent market. The only other standout starter out there is Stephen Strasburg, but his home town San Diego Padres will undoubtedly outbid the Houston Astros for him.

Additionally, it’s not just the starters that the team has to worry about in regards to pitching

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needs. The organization declined its option for Chris Devenski, making him a free agent now. For this particular need, the Houston Astros won’t need to necessarily go to the trade market. However, they will have to decide which of the fellas in their farm system have earned the right to join the big leagues.

Perhaps, 2020 could see the emergence of Forrest Whitley in either regard. Whether the team would want to put him as the 5th starter, OR use him as a setup guy in the pen, the most prominent pitching prospect in the organization could be making his debut at Minute Maid Park sooner rather than later.

Whatever happens, it is clear that the Houston Astros will need to address the pitching needs more than anything else this offseason. You have one more year of Carlos Correa in arbitration before he becomes a free agent next winter, as well as one more year of Yuli Gurriel. The bats seem to be secure, for now.

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Pitching wins championships. That much was clear when the Houston Astros, as complete of a team as they were, got dealt the ultimate blow to the Washington Nationals. For this reason, and many others, the team needs to go out and get arms.