The Houston Astros were on the precipice of another World Series in 2020, so why not add a few players who know how to get them there?
Houston’s era as the bad boys of baseball is far from over, and as fans get a chance to witness them in person (we hope) at some point in the 2021 season, the Astros should embrace the hatred rather than shying away from it. If the Astros learned anything from Carlos Correa’s message this postseason — which helped them get to within a game of the Fall Classic — it’s that regardless of who’s in the uniform, Houston will not be well-liked around baseball.
That fact alone is enough for the Astros to take nothing other than their own interests into account this offseason. Yet, perhaps an even better idea is to pursue free agent targets who have a better understanding of the Astros culture, and what helped get them to three straight ALCS finishes. And no, we’re not talking about banging trash cans.
The Astros undertook one of the best rebuilds in all of baseball. In much of that was a revolving door or veterans who aided Houston’s transformation from a young, upstart group to one of the best teams in baseball.
3. Bring back JA Happ
The Astros need pitching and that will be the theme of this post. Rather than focusing on a possible replacement for George Springer (who, for all we know, could stay in Houston himself), the Astros need to focus on what they can control. Houston needs starting pitching, especially with Justin Verlander on the mend for the foreseeable future. Assuming the Astros don’t land an ace to make up for JV’s production, they’ll have to do it by committee. Option 1? Former Astros hurler JA Happ.
Happ pitched in Houston from 2011-12. After an impressive start in 2011, in which he went 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA, Happ fell off a cliff in 2012 and went to Toronto the next year. Since then, he’s turned his career around with a few bumps in the road in New York. With the Astros pitching staff routinely helping veterans turn their careers around, Houston could take Happ’s spare parts and turn them into a mid-rotation starter, or maybe better.
Last year in a small sample size, Happ was 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA. Houston will take that and then some.