The Astros will find themselves in a new division and new league come 2013, and this will be the first full offseason for new general manager Jeff Luhnow. Needless to say, the organization is in a transitional period, but as MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports, Luhnow has a plan.
The Astros aren't going to be players for any of the game's top free agents, but Luhnow would like to add a designated hitter — potentially one who could see some time at the corner infield spots — and will also seek pitching help. Lucas Harrell, Jordan Lyles and Bud Norris are all looked at as locks for the 2013 rotation in Luhnow's eyes. He'd like to add a pitcher who can slot into the rotation above that trio, or at the very least in the middle of the group.
The team is in search of a backup catcher, as it's likely to decline the $4MM club option in Chris Snyder's contract. A veteran arm to join Wilton Lopez in the late innings will also be targeted.
Luhnow shied away from giving a concrete number for the team's offseason budget, but with less than $10MM in guaranteed 2013 contracts currently on the books, it's likely that Luhnow will have some spending money at his disposal. The team entered last season with a $61MM payroll.
It's a lengthy shopping list, but that's to be expected for a last place team with some money to spend. A look at the 2013 free agent market suggests that names like Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton and Jeff Keppinger could be reasonable targets for the Astros on offense (all my speculation). Each is actually a former Astro who could provide some offense and handle at least one of the corner infield position.
Keep in mind that in addition to that list, there are a number of non-tender candidates that the Astros could pursue. Someone like Mark Reynolds might appeal to Luhnow if the Orioles elect not to give him a raise via arbitration.