The Houston Astros have been aggressive in their efforts to improve their lineup for the upcoming season
After capturing the World Series title in 2017 after a phenomenal season, the Houston Astros fell short of a repeat the following season. The Boston Red Sox proved to be too much to handle during the League Championship Series, beating the Astros 4-1. Having left a bad taste in their mouths, the Astros and their general manager Jeff Luhnow have been aggressive this winter in improving their lineup to get back to the top of the baseball world.
Houston began their efforts by pursuing veteran outfielder Michael Brantley, whom they are reportedly close to signing to a two-year deal.
Brantley suffered through injury riddled seasons in 2016 and 2017, but finally got back to his stellar play this past season after appearing in 143 games for the Cleveland Indians. Brantley has been an exceptional batter throughout his career and has also been working on his versatility defensively which may allow him to get some starts at first base in addition to the outfield.
The Astros have also sought after slugger Nelson Cruz, who would bring an immense amount of power for their DH spot if they are able to sign him.
Cruz has crushed at least 37 home runs in each of the last five seasons, and has shown no signs of slowing down despite entering this upcoming season at the age of 38.
Houston has also reportedly reentered the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes to add to their efforts in recapturing the World Series title.
The Astros of course boast a strong crop of prospects that could intrigue the Miami Marlins in dealing their prized catcher Realmuto, including top outfield prospect Kyle Tucker. With the signing of Brantley nearing, Tucker becomes more expendable for a team in win-now mode. Will this be enough for the Astros to get back to the World Series and win two out of the last three? They surely look poised to find out.