Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane insists that his club has the resources they need to improve their ball club, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Crane did not mince words when speaking of his team needs, simply calling out the fact that the Astros will be looking for pitching and a shortstop, per Rome.
The latter need is the more finite and interesting of the two. Carlos Correa will presumably walk as a free agent, despite the resources that Crane touts as being available to his club. Certainly, for a club that has made three World Series appearances over the past five years, there should be no shortage of financial might.
The decision to let Correa walk, should they do so, is more a calculated evaluation of resource allocation. Still, it’s interesting for Crane to voice that position as one of need. Jeremy Pena has shown promise in the minor leagues, but it would be a tall order for Pena to step directly into the starting lineup for Correa, a franchise icon and two-time All-Star. The 24-year-old his an impressive .287/.346/.598 over 133 plate appearances at Triple-A.
On the pitching side, the Astros have already shifted to a new generations of arms led by the likes of Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia. Former ace and rotation stalwart Justin Verlander is still awaiting a possible qualifying offer, however. Despite missing all of last season because of Tommy John surgery, the 38-year-old would be a high ceiling, short-term use of the Astros’ financial might, were they to go ahead and extend the qualifying offer. The deadline to extend that offer is Sunday, and the Astros are still considering their options, tweets Rome.