It’s that time of year again where pitchers and catchers report for spring training games. This is when the Astros are out of the clubhouse and into the sun. I have been waiting for this season to begin for quite some time, and it finally has. The Astros have just announced that Carlos Correa will be making his first spring training start. He will be the first Astros player to be invited. His role in the organization is to be the first line of defense for the Astros.
The Astros will be in Houston from Tuesday through Sunday, and the first thing I will do is take a look at the Astros lineup. I will be taking a look at the players to be used in the outfield, the infield, the bullpen, the bench, and the rotation.
On the infield, the Astros have five positions. I am looking at the infielders and outfielders. First basemen have three positions. The position that is usually used is at third base, but the Astros have a third baseman who is currently filling in for the injured Alex Bregman. The Astros have a utility infielder who is currently playing third base. The shortstop is a position that is not used very often in the big leagues but has been used in the minors.
The Astros have four positions, but they are pretty open about their off-season strategy. They want to add a couple of players in the outfield and in the infield. They have a utility infielder who is currently playing third base, but also have an infielder who is currently filling in for the injured Alex Bregman. The shortstop is a position that is not used very often in the big leagues but has been used in the minors.
It is not surprising that the Astros are looking to add some power in the outfield. The last two years the Astros have had five pitchers put on the disabled list and still won the World Series. The one that is doing it this year will be right-handed pitcher Jose Altuve. He was traded for a player who has been on the disabled list for five weeks and the Astros are still hoping that he can return from the injury.
This trade worked out perfectly for the Astros. Altuve is only 25, and the Astros are set to lose the first baseman next year, Jose Rondon. Rondon is only 24 and the Astros are hoping that he can bounce back from his injury. They will also be looking to add a left-handed bat, and they have a lot of left-handed power. I expect that the Astros will target a pitcher and a position of need to fill in the outfield.
I think it will be a hard sell to Houston, but if the Astros are indeed willing to part with Altuve, then they should move on from their pursuit of Jose Rondon. Rondon is a very solid player, but he’s not quite young enough for Houston to be interested in a player who is only 25-years old.
Rondon would likely be a better fit for the Astros than Altuve. To me, the Astros have so many holes that they can only really use a lefty bat, and that could be Altuve. If they were to acquire Altuve, then they would be forced to sacrifice their other center fielders, so they may choose to keep Rondon.
The Astros have a number of options besides Altuve. They could keep Rondon and use him as the third outfielder, but that would mean they can’t play Rondon every day. They could try to play him more when his numbers are on the decline and decide to play him every day when he’s at its peak. They could trade Rondon at any time and have him play every day for the rest of the season.
If they wanted to, they could have played Rondon every day, but they would be sacrificing a lot of other players too. It might be worth it to keep Altuve, but I think they could have done better at a lot of positions. By trading for Altuve and keeping Rondon, the Astros would not have made it to the World Series in 2018.