Houston Astros: 3 Bold Offseason Moves Fans Won't Expect
The offseason cannot arrive fast enough for eager Houston Astros fans waiting to see how Jeff Luhnow plans to shape the club going forward. Luhnow spent the days leading up to the trade deadline making a few bold moves, and more of the same should be expected this offseason.
The move to the American League creates a new roster element with the addition of the designated hitter. The Astros will also need to adjust to playing in higher-scoring games than they're used to.
The Astros will spend the offseason shaping the roster to fit in with the style of play in the American League. The roster should look significantly different in 2013. Fans shouldn't be surprised when the Astros make a few bold moves this offseason.
Here are three bold moves fans won't expect.
Bud Norris Will Be Traded
Bud Norris would be an attractive commodity on the trade market if Jeff Luhnow decided to shop him.
It would make sense for Houston to continue to stock its farm system with young talent, and Norris would command a significant return in a trade. Norris has had a season filled with more negatives than positives, but he still possesses the stuff to be pitching at the top of a big league rotation.
It's hard to explain Norris' struggles in 2012 after the level of success he enjoyed during the 2011 season, when he finished with a 3.77 ERA in 186 innings.
Norris will see a raise in his salary going forward as he heads for arbitration. Norris' trade value should be as high as ever, however, as any team trading for him will only have the one-year commitment on its payroll, and club control of him going forward.
Brett Wallace Will Be Traded
The boldest move of the offseason would be trading Brett Wallace. The idea would have seemed unrealistic a month ago, but since then, the Houston Astros have seen the emergence of a few players.
Matt Dominguez has surprised with his bat since rejoining the team in late August. Acquired in the Carlos Lee trade, Dominguez has a respectable line of .298/.327/.880 in 47 at-bats on the year.
Dominguez could make the transition to first base to replace Wallace, and Jimmy Paredes could take over for Dominguez at third base. Paredes deserves to have full-time at-bats in the big leagues, and the Astros won't know his full potential until he gets a shot.
A trade of Wallace would allow the Astros to give more at-bats to a player they covet in Paredes, while also adding assets in the process.
Young left-handed bats with power potential are hard to give up on, but they're also attractive on the trade market to just about any team.
Lance Berkman Signs for One Year to DH
With all the fuss over the Houston Astros signing Clemens, a much more logical homecoming is going overlooked. Lance Berkman is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason and could be looking to return home.
The main obstacle in this reunion is the fact that Berkman will enter the 2013 season coming off of another major knee surgery. After all of the surgeries, Berkman is now considering retirement, as Joe Strauss wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
If Berkman were to opt against retiring, signing a low-risk one-year deal with the Astros to be the designated hitter could make some sense. The Astros will need to have veterans competing for the designated hitter role and bench spots in the Spring.
Berkman could also use Spring Training to figure out if he is ready to finally call it a career. Either way, the Astros make sense for Berkman as his career comes to an end.