The Houston Astros are in desperate need of change. They are sure to change for the better or for the worse in 2013 with a move from the National League to the American League.
The move from NL to AL means they will need to have an extra bat on their roster as they will have to fill the designated hitter position, which does not exist in the NL. They will also face deeper pitching staffs and tougher lineups in the AL.
The Astros will also need to address a change in division opponents as they are leaving the NL Central for the AL West. Instead of facing the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Milwaukee Brewers, they will be in the same division as the Texas Rangers, Oakland A's, Los Angeles Angels, and Seattle Mariners.
The Astros have the third lowest salary in all of baseball and have almost no free agents that they will be losing this offseason. Most of the decisions that have to be made are upgrading current weaknesses and sorting through their farm system to find players that are worthy of a shot on the team's roster.
2013 Houston Astros Free Agents:
Closer: Francisco Cordero
Francisco Cordero was due to become a free agent after the 2012 MLB season. Due to performing below expectations, Cordero was released by the team on September 10.
Opinion: Cordero was obviously not the answer for the Astros and will not be back in 2013. The Astros will need to address the closer position with a free agent or someone in their farm system.
Catcher: Chris Snyder - $4M Mutual Option
Snyder did not perform well for the Astros in 2012. Although their is a mutual option to keep Snyder on the team for $4 million in 2013, it does not look like the Astros are interested in that option. Snyder earned $750,000 last season and had an average of only .176 while hitting seven home runs and 24 RBIs.
Opinion: The Astros will most likely decline the option, and that is the correct move.
Free Agent Signings:
Although the Astros do not have to worry about re-signing free agents this offseason, they will have many moves to make. Due to their dedication to keeping a low salary and building through the draft and through their farm system, do not expect the Astros to make any huge signings during free agency, but they will make several moves to improve weak positions.
Look for the Astros to address their needs at catcher, starting pitcher, and closer through free agency.
Author: Michael Luchies has been a Houston Astros fan since 1999, and has been attending games when possible over the past decade while living in the Midwest.