The Houston Astros are making really no attempt to get better so far this winter. Here is a look at the new guys they have brought in for 2012 so far:
In the field: The Astros have brought in a ton of players on minor league deals, but the guys with the best chance to make the team are going to get mentioned here. Shortstop Jed Lowrie will replace Clint Barmes as the Astros’ starting shortstop in 2012 and he has a nice upside. I think he will probably improve the Astros at this position because of his bat. Outfielder Fernando Martinez was a gift from the Mets, who essentially gave up on him. He will get a shot to win the starting LF job for the Astros this spring. Lefty swinging outfielder Travis Buck will have a good shot to win a backup job in the outfield and Craig Tatum will have a decent job of winning the backup catcher job this spring.
On the mound: The Astros acquired righty starting pitcher Kyle Weiland (along with shortstop Jed Lowrie) in the deal with the Red Sox for reliever Mark Melancon. Weiland will have a good shot of winning the #5 job in the Astros’ rotation this spring.
Overall: The Astros don’t want to add any payroll for the 2012 season, so don’t look for any improvement on the field.