Houston, Texas (KTRK) – the joy of winning World Championship It’s irreplaceable, but the Houston Astros may have to do some replacement on their own in the coming months.
As is usual in every MLB offseason, a significant number of players who won the World Championships in 2022 with Stros may have to leave H-Town on an expired deal or contract option.
The video above is from November 5, 2022, after the World Championships win.
Here are the different Houston Astros who might find homes elsewhere unless their current club strikes a deal to keep them, according to baseball reference:
JV is best known for re-signing with the Astros last season for a two-year, $50 million deal, including a second-year player option. In context, the decade seemed low for someone of Verlander descent, but after Tommy John’s surgery and lengthy layoffs, both JV and the Astros bet on whether Cy Young’s award-winning magic still exists. Needless to say, both sides see the bet paying off. Verlander is on the cusp of winning the Cy Young Award for the third time after defying the odds and age to get back to his basic level. In the process, he’s rebuilding his value and may make more money next year. He will likely opt out of the $25 million 2023 player option to become a free agent. For Stros fans, though, breaking up with JV would be a bitter pill to swallow. Hopefully here Jim Crane can open the safe and make an offer that will lead to his retirement as Astro.
The 35-year-old left-hander joined the Astros in 2019 and re-signed with the team in 2021 for two more seasons. He was a sorely missing offensive tool after missing him for the rest of 2022 following shoulder surgery. The Astros can return it if a lower price is reached. Otherwise, Uncle Mike, who has durability concerns, might be looking for a suitor who could pay him the roughly $16 million he received in 2022.
Gurriel, 38, has arguably been the heart and soul of the Astros since his arrival in 2016. He became the cover model for Houston’s reputation as an international recruitment and development system. Could he be seen as worn out despite winning the Golden Glove, a batting title, and two championships in Houston? He earned $8 million in 2022.
Martin Maldonado, Jason Castro and Cristian Vazquez
Deals for this trusted tripod for Houston hunters have expired. Vasquez, in particular, won the most of the three last year with $7 million. Castro is least likely to keep it. Maldonado and Vazquez seem to have the best relationship with the show’s crew, and they’ve been seen as more integral to their success than anyone else. For General Manager James Click, the challenge is whether it makes financial sense to bring both Maldy and Vazquez back.
Acquired during the same day as the 2022 trading deadline as Vazquez, Mancini has a $10 million mutual option. Mancini remains fit for service as the first baseman/left player despite a lull in the post-season. If Gurriel finds his way out of Houston, the Astros may have to hold on to Mancini to support first base.
Rafael Monteiro, Will Smith, and Aldmes Diaz
Montero, who took over the 2021 season mid-season, became part of a lit bulls game that was among the best in the majors. He raised his value after an impressive season of late rest. Will Smith, a left-hander who was acquired by Deadline in 2022, has a $13 million club option, which means the Astros may or may not keep it in 2023. He earned nearly $5 million in 2022. Of the three, Montero might have the best chance of staying in Houston.
The 73-year-old world champion coach is no longer officially under contract, but his goodwill for the club and for Houston should be good enough to win another contract if he’s ready to make a comeback. However, nearly 30 years of managerial experience and a newly won championship should be the reason to come out on top. And if so, the Astros will be in search of their next leader. Maybe an upgrade from the inside? Joe Espada? Gary Pettis?
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