Let’s start with who are the guys on the team that will become free agents for the Astros.
Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Tony Sipp, Marwin Gonzalez, and Martin Maldonado.
Let’s look at the pitchers first. Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 Cy Young winner, can test the free agency waters for the first time in his career. My guess is he’s gone. The Astros have Verlander and Cole as their 1A and 1B in the starting rotation. The Astros have already extended a qualifying offer to him. If he accepts, great. If not the team gets a pick in the draft. Next, Charlie Morton, or as I affectionately call him CFM. (I’ll let you decide what it stands for.)
If he wants to keep pitching, then I would really like to see him brought back. I think two years for $28 million would be a reasonable offer. I really can’t see the Astros bringing back Tony Sipp. They have Framber Valdez they can use as a lefty in the bullpen to fill the void that Sipp would leave.
Marwin Gonzalez, the super utility player. AJ Hinch, the Astros manager, has said in the past if he has a problem, Marwin is the answer. Gonzalez is going to command a lot on the open market. If I’m the Astros, I match the offer. He is too valuable to the club to let go.
Martin Maldonado is a fascinating player. He’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game, regardless of his struggles in the ALCS. When you have a catcher who can eliminate guys on the bases, it makes it difficult to let him walk away. I think the Astros should re-sign him if you let McCann walk
Evan Gattis is an interesting guy for me. The Astros can fill the DH hole with a better player. Currently, they have Tyler White who can fill the hole and did so for the second half of the season. Alternatively, maybe trade for Paul Goldschmidt. (One can dream, right?) The Diamondbacks are willing to listen to offers and Goldschmidt would be a great fit in his hometown of Houston. I would prefer Goldschmidt and bringing him back to the Lone Star State where he played college ball would be ideal.
In conclusion, the Astros should bring back Morton, Gonzalez, and Maldonado. Marwin will cost the most, but he’s equally as valuable to the team. If they’re not able to re-sign Morton, they have guys in the system ready to go. I’d look for Josh James to get the early nod and expect to see Forrest Whitley called up at some point next season.