As New Years approaches, the Astros lose out on a big bat but are okay.
As fans have seen all offseason, the Astros fall short of re-signing a free agent. While many thought it was a guarantee that Charlie Morton would return to Houston, he opted for the Rays and their two-year offer for $30 million. They were reportedly after Wilson Ramos, but he opted to sign with the Mets. The Astros did sign part of their offseason plan in Michael Brantley but lost out on part two of their plan according to Joel Sherman.
#Astros plan was to team Cruz with Michael Brantley and make their deep offense deeper.Joel Sherman
Of course, he is talking about Nelson Cruz, who signed with the Twins for $14.3 million in 2019. Cruz also received a club option for 2020 for $12 million. Adding Cruz to the lineup could have made this a deep lineup with Robinson Chirinos batting ninth. Yes, he is 38-years-old, but he still hit 37 homers in 2018.
According to Jonah Keri, Cruz has hit more homers than anyone in baseball the past five seasons. Why did the Astros not go get him and put him in the cleanup slot? Why did he only get one year guaranteed? This is the changing market in baseball. Teams are hesitant to give that extra year now for an older player. While the Astros reportedly really wanted Cruz, they must not have offered as much or the team option for a second season.
Why not the Astros?
When you have made as much as Cruz has in his career, why not jump onto a team with a good chance to win the World Series in 2019. Maybe the Astros didn’t offer quite as much the Twins, that could have been made up with potential World Series bonuses. If he stayed healthy all year, the Astros may have brought him back for a second season. Also, Cruz could have lost at-bats to starters getting rest from the field in Houston.
The Astros probably set a value to adding Cruz and wouldn’t budge. They may have been confident in what Tyler White and resting position players could do instead. Either way, losing out on Cruz could hurt. There are plenty of free agents still out there, but they are looking for more than two years.
It’s not a big deal to lose out on Cruz.
This could be good news for Kyle Tucker, who could serve as a platoon mate with White as the designated hitter. Brantley potentially took Tucker’s spot in left field, this could open up playing time for the young prospect. Others like AJ Reed or J.D. Davis could also benefit with a strong spring training.
Cruz will help the Twins, but it is no time for Astros fans to panic. Yes, they are set to lose many players to free agency, but there are still moves out there. Stay patient Astros fans, Jeff Luhnow is probably moving on to the next target. Maybe Marwin Gonzalez becomes more appealing to the Astros. the 2019 Astros as is will still be a great team. They are missing a couple of players.
***Stats and salary information from Baseball-Reference***