The fact that there is any debate over whether the Houston Astros actually need something bodes well.
It’s true, the Astros have been loading up on young pitching talent over the past couple years. As it stands, they have a very strong core of the rotation behind rookies Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock. Those three guys finished the season on incredibly strong notes and will likely begin 2014 the exact same way.
After them, it’s a whole lot of question marks. Dallas Keuchel, Jordan Lyles, Mark Appel, Paul Clemens and Asher Wojciechowski factor to be in the running to fill those last two spots, as they’ve all either exceeded at Triple-A or already had some success at the MLB level — except for Appel, of course.
The crop of free agent starting pitchers is decent enough if the Astros do decide to look for veteran help. They could even go get longtime Astro Wandy Rodriguez back if they wanted.
Starting pitching should be last on the Astros’ shopping list. When considering that their rotation is anchored by skilled, young arms, it would be far more beneficial to grab some high-profile late-inning pitchers to finish solid starts than it would be to grab some free agent fourth or fifth starter whose sole purpose is to chew up innings.
Offensive production is more important than starting pitching as well. Houston’s run support was atrocious last year, and when these young starters are throwing six to seven innings and giving up less than three runs, they deserve a fighting chance. Starting pitching may be a small area of concern, but compared to the more glaring holes within the organization, it should be put very far down on the list in a position where it may even be ignored.