The MLB hot stove season is going strong, and speculation is heating up across baseball. Here is what our writers are hearing today:
Clubs talking to Astros say they seem "hell-bent to get a closer." Checked in on Chapman, Miller, Giles, Boxberger, plus free-agent options— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 21, 2015
Stark's take: Although the Astros did an excellent job of reconstructing their bullpen last winter, the one commodity they've lacked was a high-octane, swing-and-miss, power arm in the late innings. Among the 33 relievers who saved at least 15 games this season, closer Luke Gregerson ranked 24th in strikeout ratio, with 8.7 per nine innings. And of the five most-used Astros relievers, just one -- left-hander Tony Sipp, who is now a free agent -- averaged more than a strikeout per inning.
However, teams that have spoken with them say the Astros still appear unsure whether they want to give up the type of high-ceiling prospects it would take to deal for Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller or Ken Giles. So it's still possible they could opt to try to stock the bullpen in front of Gregerson with high-velocity setup arms.