The Houston Astros are suddenly a team that needs starting pitching.
Lance McCullers Jr., their talented righty with a wicked curveball, is out for the entire 2019 season after needing Tommy John surgery. McCullers, 25, was limited by injury toward the end of the 2018 season and didn’t look right in his final outing of the postseason for Houston.
For the first time, the Astros acknowledged Monday that he was having elbow issues and then announced Tuesday that he’d underwent surgery to fix his elbow ligament.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. underwent Tommy John surgery today. He is out for the 2019 season.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 6, 2018
McCullers was great through July, striking out almost 10 batters per nine innings. But he was injured for all of August and returned in relief duty in late September and October.
Considering Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton are free agents, the defending AL West champs have now lost three starters as they head into 2019. The two they have, of course, are pretty good in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Houston could potentially re-sign Keuchel or Morton. Or they could look elsewhere in the free agent or trade markets. With the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians both entertaining offers for their players, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the front-office savvy Astros look to poach a frontline starter like they did with Cole last winter.
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