Big Changes Ahead for the 2019 Houston Astros

The Astros have had a hot couple of years, to say the least. After winning the World Series in 2017, the team opened up behind the Los Angeles Dodgers as top favorites to repeat at the powerhouse online sportsbook BetOnline. And it was not a total sucker bet to hop on the Stros early because they made it all the way back to the league championship series against an unstoppable BoSox team that ended up winning it all.

So what's next for the Houston Astros?

Robinson Chirinos

The Astros are not the only team that was coming into this offseason weak at the catcher position. Chirinos is not a high-profile, ‘sexy’ pickup, but it is a necessary one. His role is to replace Brian McCann, who left for the Braves, leaving just Max Stassi, Garrett Stubbs and Martin Maldonado who has come via free agency and might not stick around. Garret Stubbs is coming up from the Fresno Grizzlies, where he hit .310, but has not been tested in the Bigs.

Adding Chirinos to the 40-man roster gives the Astros a reliable catcher, who posted 18 homeruns and 65 RBI for the Rangers last season. If Max Stassi keeps improving, we could see Chirinos in a backup role that the Astros can depend on with a steady batting average and slugging power. Chirinos also gives Houston a solid pinch-hitting option.

If you were dreaming of the Astros snatching up J.T. Realmuto, kiss that goodbye, because Chirinos has fulfilled that need. That said, should the Astros have met the Marlins demands for Realmuto? Chirinos has a pretty good offensive upside, but he sits below league average with his framing and his throw-out percentage dropping to just 10 percent last season. When you look at the numbers regarding his ability to stop runners at second base (and stop the ball from getting behind him) he is likely to have cost the Texas Rangers at least 11 runs last year in a part-time role.

Staying Healthy

Astros stars Lance McCullers Jr, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Jose Altuve all missed time last season. Despite this fact, the Stros sill managed to win 103 games in 2018. But would things have turned out differently in the postseason if Altuve wasn’t sitting around as a DH in the final 3 games of the championship series? And what if McCullers had been 100 percent?  The Bottom line is the Astros need to get healthy and stay healthy if they want to get back to the Fall Classic in 2019.


The Astros are coming into a free agency nightmare. Marwin Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Tony Sipp and Darin Downs are all up for free agency. Who stays and who goes? They also have to consider the very near future because Alex Bregman, Correa, Springer, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are not far away from their potential extension deals as well.

For the time being, we could see some heavy changes to the pitching staff and the Astros have a lot of work to do to figure out which direction they are going to go with all of these players who are up for no deals.

After all, with the Oakland Athletics resurging and the Seattle Mariners coming up, each game counts now more than ever. So, they need to figure this out quickly. Perhaps Houston can pick up Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks, if Keuchel indeed leaves (he declined his qualifying offer).