MLB’s Winter Meeting notes: Day 1 with Astros’ Bill Firkus

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 05: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the 2022 World Series in Game Six of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) (Harry How, 2022 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The Houston Astros are out in full force at MLB’s Winter Meetings, and according to both Dusty Baker and Bill Firkus, the Astros Sr. Director of Baseball Strategy, the team has a lot of irons in the fire in different areas.

Baker mentioned Yuli Gurriel, Aledmys Diaz and Michael Brantley by name when asked about potential designated hitter options, as well as potential players the team is talking to, to return.

Firkus was less specific on players, but the main point was how comfortable he feels with the team’s current starting pitching depth in the wake of Justin Verlander’s signing with the New York Mets.

Firkus mentioned Brandon Bielak and J.P. France as potential depth for the Astros in the starting rotation. Forrest Whitley can also be grouped as starting pitcher depth option. Younger players like Misael Tamarez and Jamie Melendez were also mentioned in a similar vane.

Dusty Baker, as always, said he’s interested in adding left-handed arms. Firkus said he’s excited about both Parker Mushinski and Blake Taylor as left-handed bullpen depth for the Astros.

Baker confirmed the Astros are meeting with free agent catcher Willson Contreras, but Firkus also mentioned Houston being comfortable with their current depth.

Minor leaguers Cesar Salazar and Luke Berryhill were mentioned by name alongside presumptive backup catchers Korey Lee and Yainer Diaz.

So far, the Astros haven’t struck any deals on day one, but the tone in San Diego is that they’re active and aggressive.

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