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MLB Rumors: Michael Conforto, Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley Interest Astros

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 7, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 02: Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets reacts after hitting a ball deep for a home run during the eighth inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on October 2, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Houston Astros have been at the center of free agency this winter, signing José Abreu and losing Justin Verlander to the New York Mets.

Expect them to remain at the center of baseball's offseason happenings.

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Astros "continue to look at free agents Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley and Michael Conforto as options for their outfield. After losing out on Willson Contreras, they might even explore signing two of the three."

All three would give the Astros a boost in their outfield, as only right fielder Kyle Tucker is a surefire starter.

Benintendi, 28, was a first-time All-Star in 2022 and hit .304 with five homers, 51 RBI, 54 runs and a .772 OPS in 126 games between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees last season.

While he doesn't offer a ton of pop, he does hit for average (.279 for his career) and would be a defensive upgrade in left field.

Brantley, 35, is a five-time All-Star and still hits for average (.288 in 64 games last season), though his power numbers have diminished in recent years, as he managed just eight homers in 121 games during the 2021 campaign.

Shoulder surgery cut his 2022 campaign short. If Brantley re-signs, it would likely be on a one-year deal, but he's been a fixture for this Astros team since 2019.

Finally, the 29-year-old Conforto would offer the most power of the bunch, as he posted three straight seasons of 27 or more homers from 2017 to 2019. He didn't hit that mark in 125 games in 2021, however, hitting .232 with 14 homers, 55 RBI, 52 runs and a .729 OPS for the New York Mets.

Offseason shoulder surgery and a rejected qualifying offer followed, and Conforto sat out the entire 2022 season. Signing him would come with the calculated gamble that some of his pop will return.