The Astros claimed their first World Series title in 2017 behind dominant postseason pitching, but they could look to bolster their pitching this winter through free agency.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman indicated that Houston could be a landing spot for Greg Holland or Addison Reed, both late-inning right-handers. Although Astros closer Ken Giles excelled in the regular season, he posted an 11.74 ERA during the postseason, and manager A.J. Hinch was able to win key games by using starting pitchers in relief.
Holland is the top closer on the market after an excellent 2017 season in which he returned from Tommy John surgery and posted a 3.61 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings, leading the National League with 41 saves.
Reed, meanwhile, sported a 2.84 ERA with 76 strikeouts over 76 innings with the Red Sox and Mets, while earning 19 saves. He will likely command a less lucrative contract than Holland.
The Astros could also look for upgrades to their rotation to guard against the potential losses of Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, who are set to hit free agency in 2018 and '19, respectively.
The Astros have been connected to right-hander Yu Darvish, whom they faced regularly during the 4 1/2 seasons he spent with the American League West-rival Rangers. Darvish also faced Houston twice in the World Series as a member of the Dodgers.
Darvish, 31, is the premier starting pitcher on the free-agent market with a career 3.42 ERA and 11.04 K/9. He has kept his ERA under 4.00 in all five of his Major League seasons and held a 3.86 ERA over 186 2/3 innings in 2017.