Astros 2022 Winter Meetings recap

SAN DIEGO – The Astros have landed their free agent manager – first baseman José Abreu – before going to the winter meetings, and they plan to sign free agent catcher Willson Contreras, who announced that he will go to the Cardinals in five years on Wednesday.

The Astros continued to struggle as they were the only team in the winter meetings without a general manager, as assistant GMs Bill Firkus, Charles Cook and Andrew Ball led the team in San Diego and owner Jim Crane and consultant Jeff Bagwell were booked when he returned. Houston.

With the winter meetings over, there is still work to be done. The World Series winners have a solid roster, but there are some holes that need to be addressed. Then there’s the big executive search, which Crane said won’t happen until the start of the new calendar year.

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THERE IS A LOT OF LEFT
1. Left part:
The Astros are interested in bringing back free agent Michael Brantley for a fifth year in Houston, but it will depend on his health. Brantley, 35, just started doing baseball exercises after undergoing arthroscopic labral repair on his right shoulder in August. The Astros have also expressed interest in free agents Michael Conforto and Andrew Benintendi, both left-handed bats who could complement Houston’s right-handed lineup. Yordan Alvarez will get playing time in left field but will get most of his at-bats at DH.

2. Arrest: The team’s pursuit of Contreras showed how serious the Astros are about improving their catching position. Martín Maldonado, the first starter, is returning for another season, while Christian Vázquez is a free agent. Maldonado struggled at the plate last season but is a reliable leader in a young pitching staff. Korey Lee and Yainer Diaz will likely start in Triple-A if the Astros can land a back. Watch out for Oakland catcher Sean Murphy, who could be traded, although the asking price will be high.

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3. Left arm rest: Manager Dusty Baker’s desire for a left-handed reliever led the Astros to acquire Will Smith from Atlanta at the Trade Deadline, but he was never used in the playoffs and was a free agent. The Astros have a great bullpen with right-handers who can relieve left-handers. However, Baker needs a lefty or two in the lineup to compete with Blake Taylor and Parker Mushinski in the bullpen.

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DRAFT RULE 5
The Astros did not select or lose any players in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, although they did make four selections in the Minor League level.

HELP GM DOWN THE LINE
Crane said the Astros weren’t done making moves during Abreu’s Nov. 1 press conference. Firkus’ comments in San Diego echoed those sentiments.

“We checked with each team last week and picked up those discussions here,” he said. “As you can imagine, there’s a lot of negotiation and trading going on here. So yeah, we’re going to continue to run everything to try to get back and back next year. .We will do everything we can to improve this team: free agency, trades, waiver claims… wherever we think we can improve this team.

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