Houston Astros reportedly in talks with All-Star outfielder before Winter Meetings
As the MLB Winter Meetings begin on Monday, the Houston Astros are reportedly in active pursuit of another All-Star hitting to strengthen their lineup after winning the World Series.
Houston, one of the best teams in MLB over the last six seasons, is prepared to lose ace Justin Verlander in free agency. With the top starter in their rotation expected to join another World Series contender, the Astros are ramping up their efforts to build one of the best lineups in baseball for the 2023 season.
During the 2022 regular season, Houston’s lineup finished ranked eighth in runs scored (737), ranked seventh in OPS (.743) and 12th in batting average (.248). However, a majority of the damage was done by the first six in the batting order, with the bottom of the lineup providing little consistency.
Facing the inevitability of its pitching staff taking a step back in 2023, Houston seems intent on adding multiple impact bats to counter the losses.Also Read:
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According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today , the Astros are in talks with Andrew Benintendi even after adding All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu.
Benintendi, a 2022 All-Star selection, excelled this season with the Kansas City Royals. Before the MLB trade deadline, the corner outfielder posted a .320/.387/.398 slash line with 40 runs scored in a Royals’ uniform.
- Andrew Benintendi stats (2022): .304/.373/.399, 10% walk rate, 100 runs produced
While the left-handed hitter only posted a .254 batting average after being traded to the New York Yankees, he delivered a .331 OBP with four steals and a 111 wRC+ in 27 games. The 28-year-old suffered a broken hamate bone late in the regular season, but he will be ready for spring training.
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Facing the possibility of losing Michael Brantley, the Astros want to shore up their lineup with a consistent on-base threat who could produce additional run-scoring chances with his speed. Benintendi offers both of those things and he also has World Series experience.
It’s unlikely the Astros would be willing to sign Benintendi to anything longer than a three-year contract, based on their history and desire for long-term payroll flexibility. One thing that is clear, though, is ownership has given the front office the green light to keep adding talent this winter.
Houston is also in the mix to add a catcher, pursuing several of the top options in both free agency and the trade market. It’s also possible they look to add depth to their starting rotation before 2023.