The Houston Astros are of course in contending mode and in 2017 will have legitimate designs on the AL West title. The 2016 season was something of a disappointment following the strides made the year prior, and to the end of shoring up those roster weaknesses, GM Jeff Luhnow apparently has designs on one of two frontline sluggers. Here are the details from Fox's Jon Morosi:
#Astros will pursue Miguel Cabrera or Edwin Encarnacion. Payroll increase is coming. They have only two players signed beyond 2017. @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 9, 2016
Yep, the Astros have their eyes set on Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers or free agent Edwin Encarnacion. Either, suffice it to say, would significantly improve the Houston attack.
Cabrera, obviously, would require Houston to part with young, controllable talent in trade. The Tigers have a stated goal of shedding payroll this winter, and Cabrera has a minimum of $220 million left on his contract. If the Tigers are going to shed that kind of commitment, then they'll need to throw in a substantial amount of cash and probably not ask much in return. That's subject to market forces, of course.
On the Houston side of things, Cabrera remains one of the most productive hitters in baseball. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2016 batted .316/.393/.563 (157 OPS+) and tallied 38 homers in 158 games for Detroit. For his career, he owns an OPS+ of 155. Cabrera's going into his age-34 season, but he still figures to be highly productive in the near- to mid-term. Obviously, though, that's a huge contract.
As for Encarnacion, the free agent DH/1B this season batted .263/.357/.529 with 42 homers. Over the last five years, he's put up an OPS+ of 146 while averaging 33 home runs per 162 games played.
The Astros would likely get better production from Cabrera, but he would entail a much larger investment, even if the Tigers throw in a lot of money in the deal. Whatever the case, don't be surprised if Houston makes one of the biggest splashes of the offseason.