3 Potential Replacements for Gerrit Cole When He Likely Leaves the Astros in Free Agency
The Houston Astros fell just short of a World Series title in 2019 and, in the unlikely chance that he decides to re-sign with Houston, will have a Gerrit Cole-sized hole in their rotation that will need to be filled. Even with Cole out of the picture, the free agent market is still flush with top pitching talent that could keep them in contention in 2020 and maybe beyond.
With that in mind, here are three replacements for Gerrit Cole that the Astros should consider signing this offseason.
3. Dallas Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel isn't in the same stratosphere as Cole, but it doesn't hurt to bring back a familiar face. Keuchel was a reliable fixture in Houston's rotation from 2012 to 2018, compiling a 76-63 record with a 3.66 ERA and 1.25 WHIP - and he saw a good amount of personal success in his time in Houston. In seven seasons with the Astros, the 31-year-old southpaw made two All-Star teams, won three Gold Glove Awards and the 2015 AL Cy Young Award. Keuchel's services won't come cheap, as his current market value sits at around $20 million per year, according to Spotrac. However, if he can replicate the success he saw in his first stint with the Houston, Keuchel would provide the Astros with a solid arm at a relative bargain.
2. Madison Bumgarner
He may have fallen on tough times recently, but Madison Bumgarner would be a more than suitable replacement for the departing Cole. Despite injury problems over the last three years, the four-time All-Star lefty has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the game for the better part of a decade, compiling a 119-92 record with a 3.13 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while averaging 218 innings per season in his 11-year career. The 30-year-old southpaw won't come cheap, as his current market value sits just north of $21 million a season, per Spotrac. However, with three World Series titles and a World Series MVP Award to his name, Bumgarner knows what it takes to win and should fit in seamlessly with an Astros squad that's made World Series appearances in two of the last three years.
1. Hyun-Jin Ryu
Hyun-Jin Ryu was a stud for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, finishing the year with a 14-5 record, a 2.32 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings pitched. He wasn't the ace of the staff in Los Angeles, and wouldn't be in Houston either, but the Astros have done something the Dodgers haven't in recent years – win a World Series. This could attract the Dodgers' lefty. Ryu will be 33 years old by the time the 2020 season rolls around and he will come with a much cheaper price tag than Cole's expected rate. He might not be able to replace everything Cole brought to the table, but Ryu would solidify a strong one-two-three punch at the top of the Astros' rotation behind Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.