Houston Astros Joe Espada name 3 stars as top target for offseason trade

Ahead of the Winter Meetings taking place on Dec. 3 in Nashville, TN, teams are formulating their plans on how they want to attack this offseason.

The Houston Astros are no different, but it seems like they’ll have limited amounts of money for general manager Dana Brown to work with.

Knowing that, Brown made it clear what positions they are targeting in the offseason to supplement a roster that will be a contender in the American League once again.

With backup catcher being one of the areas of focus, here are three players the Astros could go after in free agency that wouldn’t break their budget.

Austin Nola

After being a staple behind the plate for the San Diego Padres in 2022, a disastrous season last year saw him be demoted to the minor leagues due to poor performance and concussion symptoms. He slashed .146/.260/.192 with one home run and eight RBI during 2023 across 130 at-bats.


Batting would not be the thing Nola is brought in for, however. He would need to be a solid backup defensively, something that he’s shown in the past but not consistently. He could be a cheap, reclamation option for Houston.

Tom Murphy

Backup catcher is a role that Murphy has held since his MLB debut in 2015. Defense could be a concern with the 32-year-old as he had a fielding percentage of .992 with the Seattle Mariners last year and a -4 figure in Defensive Runs Saved Above Average.

He’s a solid option at the plate in a backup role though, slashing .290/.335/.538 with eight home runs and 17 RBI if the Astros want more pop at that position heading into 2024. Spotrac has his value as roughly $3.2 million, which would fit into Houston’s budget.

Austin Hedges

Another player who was in the AL West last season, this is the best defensive option for the Astros. He was 8 Defensive Runs Saved Above Average in 2022 with the Cleveland Guardians and 11 Defensive Runs Saved Above Average with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers during 2023.

He doesn’t add much at the plate, slashing .184/.234/.227 with one home run and 16 RBI, but Hedges would be a defensive option that Houston could rely on during days off and if Diaz has some struggles in his first season as a starter. Projected to cost around $4.2 million, he also wouldn’t break their self-imposed salary cap.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.