Two days after Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow promised to get the hot stove going, it appears that the team has skipped the match and the stove entirely in favor of pouring kerosene on a campfire. The Astros acquired veteran catcher Brian McCann from the Yankees and signed free agent outfielder Josh Reddick on Thursday as they look to push on after a disappointing 2016 season in which the postseason was just out of reach.
Houston sent minor league pitchers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to New York in exchange for McCann and cash considerations. According to Buster Olney, the Yankees will pay $5.5 million of McCann’s $17 million salary each of the next two seasons. McCann became expendable in New York in 2016 as rookie sensation Gary Sanchez took a firm grasp of the starting job behind the plate and doesn’t seem poised to relinquish it anytime soon. For the Astros, McCann looks to be a solid veteran presence for a young team that showed flashes of brilliance at times in 2016. Highlights included the month of June, during which the Astros went 18-8, as well as the stellar season of MVP candidate Jose Altuve.
Reddick, meanwhile, is coming off a 2016 season in which he split time between the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was acquired by the Dodgers at the trade deadline in an effort to shore up an injury ravaged team that was still unsure of their postseason future at the time. Reddick largely failed to impress during his time in LA, posting an OPS+ of just 76, although he did contribute in some key moments while helping the Dodgers reach the NLCS where they fell to the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs in 6 games. NBC Sports is reporting that the Astros will pay Reddick $52 million over 4 seasons, and will definitely be hoping that they’re getting the version of Reddick that they saw in Oakland during the first half of 2016 where he posted an impressive 127 OPS+ over 68 games and 272 plate appearances. Reddick will join an already crowded Houston outfield where he will likely push young RF George Springer to the bench.
Houston’s additions of McCann and Reddick come just a day after signing free agent pitcher Charlie Morton to a 2 year, $14 million contract to shore up their starting rotation. With just two weeks until the Winter Meetings, the Astros are looking like major players in the market so far this offseason.