Ranking the Phillies free agent targets: Who are the best fits?

MLB’s Winter Meetings are back for the first time since before the pandemic. Will next week bring with it the first Phillies signings of the offseason?

Over the last few years, free agency has drawn out for a long time. Most of the Phillies’ most noteworthy acquisitions in recent offseasons have come near the start of spring training. But that’s also because there were no traditional Winter Meetings.

The buzz coming from San Diego is that a bunch of dominoes could fall over the coming days, with every MLB front office out on the west coast — meaning we are running out of time to pontificate about free agent rumors and fits with the Phillies.

The Phillies have some very clear needs, with an infielder and starting pitcher topping the list. Let’s assume, for a moment that the front office has a free agent big board (they might!). Which players would top that list? 

Here’s our ranking of the best free agent fits for the Phillies. We’ll skip over the Aaron Judges of the world, as signing an outfielder that will cost, like, $35 million a year is probably not an investment Philadelphia is looking to make. 

Sticking to the players who would make the most sense, here’s our ranking of the best additions available on the open market right now for the reloading Phillies:

The elite shortstops

1. Trea Turner
2. Carlos Correa
3. Dansby Swanson
4. Xander Bogaerts

From all the reports we’ve seen of late, Turner is the Phillies’ top target and he is a picture-perfect fit for them. Friends with Bryce Harper, he reportedly wants to be with a team that trains in Florida and that is in contention. He has an elite combination of speed, power, contact and defense that the Phillies desperately need. The only real issue could be his price point — likely to be more than $30 million per season. Would the Phils pay Turner more than Harper makes per season?

The other three shortstops are all incredible talents that would fill a need in Philly. All four candidates above would move Bryson Stott to second base and improve the Phillies’ overall defense a great deal. Correa is the youngest of the four and has the second-best bat, while Swanson is a better defender than Bogaerts — hence our order.

The Phillies need pitching, badly, and we called starting pitching their top offseason priority when we ranked them earlier this week. However, as far as targets on free agency, the infielders they need are much more scarce, and the four players above should be the top four on their big board.

The elite starters

5. Carlos Rodón

6. Jacob deGrom
7. Justin Verlander

Rodón has got to be the No. 1 pitching target for the Phillies, as he is a little younger than the other top available arms and sort of fits in with the other flame-throwers on the staff. However, with so many talented young pitchers waiting in the wings in the farm system right now — like Andrew Painter and Mick Abel — the Phillies do not want to block their path to joining the rotation. A one- or two-year deal to deGrom or Verlander would likely be ideal, and it’s possible the two above Cy Young winners would be willing to sign short-term contracts with a team very close to winning it all.

The mid-rotation starters

8. Chris Bassitt
9. Nathan Eovaldi
10. Andrew Heaney
11. Jameson Tallion
12. Sean Manaea
13. Jose Quintana
14. Corey Kluber
15. Zach Grienke

If the Phillies miss out on the top trio above, there are a handful of appealing arms who could slide into the starting five under Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Last season, the Phillies relied on Kyle Gibson and a revolving door of fifth starters in addition to lefty Ranger Suárez. They need to get some stability and reliability after their top three and all of these arms above would be worthy investments.

None of these hurlers are likely to be All-Stars next season, but they should also be able to post respectable numbers over the course of a full season.

The familiar faces

16. Jean Segura
17. Zach Eflin

The Phillies made it all the way to the World Series this past season and the contributions of this duo above made a difference in that run. Both are free agents, and if the Phillies miss out on the shortstop free agent market, Segura is a good defender and a good hitter who would be worth bringing back to play second base in a worst-case scenario. Eflin proved he could be a back of the bullpen arm and having him back in that role isn’t the worst idea in the world.

Bullpen aces

18. Taylor Rogers
19. Kenley Jansen
20. Craig Kimbrel
21. Aroldis Chapman
22. Adam Ottavino
23. Chris Martin

It’s unlikely that the Phillies throw a ton of money at the top bullpen pieces out there — particularly if they’re going to spend on an infielder and a starter. Still, these relievers have a proven track record and at the right price it might be nice for the team to have an experienced closer ready to go when called upon.

Start-able infielders

24. Elvis Andrus
25. Brandon Drury
26. Josh Bell
27. Justin Turner
28. Adam Frazier
29. Brian Anderson

These guys are backup plans to the Phillies’ backup plan, and if any of them are tagged to start in the field next season, things have likely gone very very wrong in free agency. However, with Harper shelved for the first half of the year the Phils will need a DH, and they could always use depth on their bench. These are all veteran hitters who can play multiple positions.

Bottom rotation starters

30. Michael Wacha
31. Kyle Gibson
32. Ross Stripling
33. Taijuan Walker
34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Drew Smyly
36. Danny Duffy
37. Wade Miley
38. Mike Minor
39. Johnny Cueto
40. Jordan Lyles

There are a lot of veteran arms out there who might be worth bringing in for spring training. The Phillies are inevitably going to need more than five pitchers to start games in 2023, and it isn’t the worst idea in the world to build some depth or to bring in a fifth starter type to begin the season in South Philly to give the pitching prospects a little more time in Triple-A if necessary. 

Middle of the bullpen

41. Michael Boyd
42. David Robertson
43. Trevor Williams
44. Tommy Kahnle
45. Andrew Chafin
46. Seth Lugo
47. Trevor Rosenthal
48. Chad Green
49. Matt Moore
50. Zack Britton

There are tons and tons and tons of relief pitchers out there, but these 10 are the kinds of guys the Phillies are likely to target at the end of free agency. They have all proven to be effective over their respective bodies of work and could be additions in the middle of the Philadelphia pen. All of them could be affordable and could be had at shorter contract lengths.

Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_macy

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Some ‘Survivor 43’ Fans Think The Drowning Challenge Should’ve Ended Differently

A classic Survivor challenge was brought back. Fans have a lot to say about how Jeff Probst ended it.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Survivor Season 43 Episode 11, “Hiding in Plain Sight.”]

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Business confidence in Yorkshire rises for first time this quarter

Confidence amongst Yorkshire businesses has risen for the first time this quarter, according to figures from the latest Business Barometer by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Although business confidence in the region rose by one point to 3 per cent, the Yorkshire figure is still lower than that of the country as a whole, where business confidence is around 10 per cent.

The survey, which questions 1,200 businesses monthly, was conducted between 1st-15th November, before the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement announcement on Thursday, November 17.

Steve Harris, regional director for Yorkshire at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Yorkshire firms have not been immune to recent issues, and have faced a particularly challenging few months with rising costs and wide turbulence in the economy.

Business confidence in Yorkshire rose one point in November to 3% according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking – the first-time confidence has increased this quarter.

“Despite this, it’s good to see businesses remaining optimistic about their own trading prospects as we head into one of the busiest periods of the year.

“In the current economic environment, keeping margins on tight reins while closely monitoring cashflow will allow firms to plan ahead and carefully consider which opportunities they capitalise on.”

The survey also found that companies in Yorkshire reported higher confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, up seven points at 19 per cent. 

When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, down three points to 12 per cent, this gives a confidence reading of 3 per cent. 

Yorkshire businesses identify top growth opportunities as evolving their product or service offering (37 per cent), investing in sustainability (29 per cent), and growing their workforce (28 per cent).

23 per cent of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, down one point on last month.

Despite a seven-point dip, businesses nationally remained positive about hiring intentions, with 14 per cent of firms aiming to create new jobs in the next 12 months.

Overall, UK business confidence fell five points during November, but remained positive at 10 per cent.

Firms’ outlook on their future trading prospects was down two points to 25 per cent, and their optimism in the wider economy dropped four points to 2 per cent.

All UK regions and nations, apart from the South East, reported a positive confidence reading in November, with seven recording a month-on-month increase in confidence.

Of those recording an increase in confidence, Scotland, Wales and the South West saw the largest monthly changes, with Scotland now the most optimistic overall.

Business confidence in retail increased to 15 per cent, up from 9 per cent.

However, business confidence in the manufacturing sector fell for the sixth month in a row, to 4, down 9 points, the lowest confidence level since early 2021.

The construction sector held gains made in October, remaining unchanged at 20 per cent, although this level still remains weaker than in the first half of the year.

The Business Barometer’s measure of overall business confidence is the average of responses about how businesses regard the economic outlook and their own trading prospects.

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North Pacific Seafoods pays EPA to settle alleged Clean Air Act violations from illegal incinerators

One of Alaska’s most prominent seafood companies will pay $345,000 to the Environmental Protection Agency after illegally operating three incinerators in Naknek.

The EPA announced a settlement agreement with North Pacific Seafoods on Tuesday.

Alice Corcoran, a public relations officer for the EPA, characterized the settlement as “on the bigger side of big” for the agency.

The agreement, which heads off proposed penalties for alleged Clean Air Act violations, was signed in August by Dave Hambleton, president and CEO of North Pacific. Hambleton did not return a phone message seeking comment.

According to the EPA’s documentation, North Pacific operated the incinerators — used to dispose of paper, cardboard and other waste — without a permit between 2017 and 2021, when the company shut them down and removed them. 

The company also failed to perform emission testing and properly train the operators of the incinerators, the EPA said.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation did not issue a separate fine but did participate in the EPA’s investigation.

Jason Olds, director of the DEC’s Division of Air Quality, said incinerators aren’t uncommon in rural areas, particularly in industrial camps that need to get rid of waste.

“There’s exemptions from permitting requirements that they could have sought with these incinerators, but they didn’t do that, and they didn’t do it timely,” he said.

Had North Pacific chosen to keep the incinerators operating, the state could have intervened, he said, but “when they started walking through what that picture would look like, and how those violations would become essentially a part-state issue, the operator elected to just shut the units down permanently.”

Olds characterized the size of the fine as “on the higher end of average.”

North Pacific Seafoods, which operates processing plants in Togiak, Sitka, Kodiak, Naknek and on the Kenai Peninsula, is owned by Kanaway Seafoods, a branch of Canadian Fishing Co., which is itself part of Jim Pattison Group, a firm owned by Canada’s third-richest man.

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US politics feature heavily in Miami Art Week

Earlier this year a leading US collector wrote to Art Basel’s outgoing global director Marc Spiegler saying he refused to set foot in Florida for the Miami fair this week after the so-called “don’t say gay” bill was passed by the state in March. The legislation restricts primary schools from teaching pupils about sexual orientation and gender issues.

The man behind the bill is Florida’s governor and Fox News favourite Ron DeSantis, who earlier this month coasted to a second term and is expected to run for president against Donald Trump in 2024. DeSantis is waging a culture war on other fronts, too: he has banned abortion after 15 weeks in the state and recently introduced the Stop Woke Act, which limits teaching on critical race theory, including the concept of white privilege. A small reprieve came in August, when a judge issued a temporary injunction on the latter bill, describing it as “positively dystopian”.

Dystopia has become an all-too-familiar scene in US politics, but Florida’s shift from swing state to solid GOP is of particular concern to some of the leading cultural figures in Miami. As the Argentinian-born mega-collector Jorge Pérez puts it: “I hate to see where the country is now. People’s opinions are so extreme, there’s no discussion and no in between.” He thinks free speech is the cornerstone of US society. “Everybody should have the right to artistically express whatever they want,” Pérez adds.

Robin Kid, aka The Kid, God Bless Our Broken Home (2022) Eric Thayer

Born to Cuban exiles, Pérez is among a powerful cohort of collectors in Miami, but political allegiances in the city are mixed. Norman Braman, Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz and Ken Griffin have all given generously to the Republican party, while Mera Rubell and Martin Margulies have written cheques for the Democrats.

Pérez, a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton who also backed the Republican Jeb Bush, describes himself as a “liberal Democrat”. He adds: “I’m not a DeSantis person, and I’m not a Trump person. On the other hand, I think the Democratic Party has gone a bit too far to the left.” Of his one-time friendship with Donald Trump, Pérez says the rift developed when he declined to back Trump’s presidential bid, citing differences over “almost every policy”, including immigration and the environment.

So how is Florida’s lurch to the right impacting Miami and its cultural scene?

Despite the chilling effect of the state’s increasingly right-wing politics, Pérez notes how Florida’s low-tax, pro-business approach has contributed to “another revival” of Miami’s cultural scene, which has mushroomed with the influx of wealthy individuals and corporations since the pandemic. “The growth has been immense, and it’s brought art with it,” Pérez says. “Miami is no longer just a sun and fun city, it’s a serious place for business and art—and that’s now happening year-round.”

Pérez has been instrumental in Miami’s cultural levelling up. Since 2011, the collector, who made his fortune developing luxury condos, has contributed $55m to the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM, formerly the Miami Art Museum), including significant collections of Latin American and Cuban art—a move which secured his name above the door. He has also recently donated to the Tampa Art Museum and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.

His collecting continues apace—since his last donation to PAMM in 2017, Pérez has purchased more than 5,000 works, around 700 of them by Cuban artists, many acquired after the protests of 11 July 2021.“We started buying like crazy because [artists in Cuba] needed money,” Pérez says. Works by Tania Bruguera, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Carlos Garaicoa and Rubén Torres Llorca are among those currently on show in the exhibition, You Know Who You Are, at his private gallery, El Espacio 23.

Challenging issues are being confronted in exhibitions elsewhere in the state. At the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, the photographer Bonnie Lautenberg tackles women’s rights, particularly the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Most abortions are now banned in at least 13 US states.

“It’s outrageous that women don’t have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies,” Lautenberg says. “This is a threat to our democracy. The same people who stole our right to choose will eventually try to steal our other hard-won rights too.”

As part of her retrospective, Lautenberg is also showing Guns Kill (2022), a piece that superimposes the Statue of Liberty over images of AR-15-style rifles. The work was created to benefit Giffords, an organisation dedicated to saving lives from gun violence led by former Democrat Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting in 2011.

The photographer points out how the same senators who are pro-life are often also anti-gun control. “It’s so hypocritical,” she adds.

When I used to go to fundraising events in Miami with my late husband, most Latinos were Democrats. The Cubans supported us, but now lots of them have gone to the right

Bonnie Lautenberg

Lautenberg, who splits her time between New York and Palm Beach, is the widow of the long-standing Democratic senator Frank Lautenberg. She notes how Latino voters in Florida have swung to the right. An estimated 72% of registered Republicans in Miami-Dade are Hispanic, many of them Cuban-American. “When I used to go to fundraising events in Miami with my late husband, most Latinos were Democrats. The Cubans supported us, but now lots of them have gone to the right,” she says.

Indigenous artist Hock E Aye VI Heap of Birds’s (Cheyenne and Araphaho) Florida Today Your Host is Timucua (2022) is one of a series highlighting the issue of Native American land rights Eric Thayer

Lautenberg suggests that traditional “Latino” issues such as immigration, combating racism and identity politics now often take a back seat to concerns over the economy, religion and foreign policy.

For many in the Miami art world, encouraging diversity remains a priority. The main impetus behind Gabriel Kilongo setting up his gallery, Jupiter, in March was to give a platform to artists from different socio-cultural backgrounds. The dealer, who fled his native Democratic Republic of the Congo after the wars of the 1990s and 2000s, initially moved from New York to Miami at the outbreak of the pandemic to set up a pop-up for the gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash. It was so successful that Kilongo branched out on his own and next month opens a new space that more than doubles his current gallery’s size.

This week, Kilongo is exhibiting at Untitled Art fair, where is he is showing paintings by the self-taught Seattle artist Marcus Leslie Singleton (prices range from $3,000 to $20,000).

He notes the number of “polarising figures” in Miami, but also points out how his colleagues in the gallery world “tend to represent political values that completely contradict what the average Miami person thinks”.

Miami’s institutions, too, champion a diverse mix of artists, even if their financial backers hold conservative views. Norman Braman, for example, is the main benefactor of the ICA Miami, which is known for its progressive programming. “It’s one of many museums in Miami that shows artists who challenge the beliefs that DeSantis and Trump have,” Kilongo says.

The dealer thinks that the perception of Florida as an ultra-conservative state is being further challenged by a group of forward-thinking collectors who are launching spaces, including Beth Rudin DeWoody, who opened The Bunker in Palm Beach in 2017, and Ariel and Daphna Bentata, who are reportedly building a space which will champion queer and Black artists.

“Culturally speaking, in the next decade Miami will start to challenge cities like New York and Los Angeles,” Kilongo believes.

Nonetheless, DeSantis still represents a threat to many in the Sunshine State; as the governor put it himself: “Florida is where woke goes to die.”

His stance is not lost on some of the artists exhibiting at Art Basel in Miami Beach this week. The Dallas-based artist Leslie Martinez is showing a suite of new abstract paintings with the Texan gallery And Now.

Created “specifically for this moment”, as Martinez puts it, their work emerges from the artist’s trans non-binary identity and ancestral history in the Rio Grande Valley of the Texas-Mexico border.

I’m bringing the most ‘say gay’ paintings I can to Florida

Leslie Martinez, Texan artist

So what exactly does “this moment” signify for Martinez, who is exhibiting for the first time in Miami? “I’m struggling with a deep sense of sadness and anger because I’m coming from one really anti-queer state to another with my work,” they say. “But then I think ‘fuck yeah, I’m bringing the most ‘say gay’ paintings I can to Florida’. Bringing my work to this state speaks directly to that bill—no matter how much anyone tries, there is no way to erase us.”

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Ballard’s Inn on Block Island agrees to no large live music events after summer flap | Westerly

NEW SHOREHAM — After months of discussions behind closed doors, the town of New Shoreham and Ballard’s Inn have reached a settlement over liquor and outdoor entertainment license suspensions imposed by the town on Aug. 22.

The suspensions came as a result of problems that occurred throughout the summer at the popular beach resort venue that culminated on Aug. 8, Victory Day in Rhode Island, when Ballard’s hosted a reggae festival.

Among other measures, the agreement stipulates that Ballard’s “shall not host any music festivals or large-scale live music events.” Ballard’s also agrees to “dismiss the appeals pending before the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.”

The settlement agreement, signed by all of the parties on Wednesday, Nov. 30, upholds the license suspensions that Steve Filippi, president of Shoreham Inc., appealed to the court and DBR, but reduces the 14-day suspension period to “time previously served.”

The agreement paved the way for the renewal of Shoreham Inc.’s licenses for Ballard’s for next year.

— Renee Meyer, Block Island Times

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Let’s activate the landmark law and start protecting New Jersey’s workers from mass layoffs | Opinion

By Donna Fotiadis

The political climate has changed dramatically since the pandemic entered our lives nearly three years ago. Pre-existing issues related to income inequality, workers’ rights and corporate greed were magnified. The impact of COVID-19 was immediate, and it quickly became apparent to the entire country that not enough was being done to protect the working families of America.

Flying under the radar is how New Jersey was actually far ahead of the curve, leading the charge in legalizing groundbreaking protections for essential workers.

In January 2020, New Jersey made history by passing the nation’s first-ever Guaranteed Severance Pay Law to support workers facing mass layoffs. Inspired by the historic $20 million severance assistance fund that Toys R Us associates fought for and won, State Senator Joe Cryan teamed up with us — a committee of essential workers across the state who are leading the movement with United for Respect to improve the lives of people working in retail — to spearhead the landmark law.

Unfortunately, COVID emergency protocols blocked the law from ever going into effect, even as jobs disappeared during a deadly pandemic.

Since the Guaranteed Severance Pay Law has been on pause, more than 28,000 New Jerseyans and their families lost their jobs and also lost out on the financial relief they would’ve received had this law been active – money families urgently needed. Meanwhile, large corporations that drove job losses in our state like Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Nieman Marcus had received millions of dollars in tax benefits and subsidies.

It didn’t have to play out this way.

Originally intended to go into effect in July 2020, the law was put on hold indefinitely as state leaders did all they could to prioritize emergency services and stabilize the economy.

That was then. This is now.

Though COVID-19 continues to impact our public health and economic landscape, our state moved past the emergency stage of the pandemic long ago, and now is the time for New Jersey’s lawmakers to make things right for working people across our state.

This week, the New Jersey Senate Labor Committee is expected to hold a hearing to consider S3162, an amendment that would finally make the Guaranteed Severance Pay Law effective immediately.

One thing has remained consistent before, during and now as we emerge from the pandemic: Wall Street greed. We know that corporate executives and Wall Street billionaires will continue to juice profits for shareholders on the backs of working families if they’re allowed to.

That’s why we can’t wait another day to shore up protections for workers facing mass layoffs, and that’s why I plan to testify at the hearing. The closing of two Walmart stores in our state since the beginning of the pandemic is proof-positive of how we need to make sure New Jersey’s working families have the support and protection they need. And it’s only going to get worse, as economic uncertainty fuels fears of a wave of retail bankruptcies on the horizon.

To ensure the long-term well-being of working people, many of whom showed up day in and day out as essential workers, our lawmakers have a duty to hold business owners, investors and corporate executives accountable for the jobs they destroy and the communities they devastate.

We cannot allow any more of New Jersey’s essential workers to face mass layoffs alone and without support. Our lawmakers have an obligation to pass S3162 and lift the moratorium on implementation, unpausing the Guaranteed Severance Pay Law and getting workers the relief they deserve.

Donna Fotiadis is a leader with United for Respect and a former Walmart associate who worked at the company for 5 ½ years. She lives in Middlesex.

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Readlyn City Services: Progressive offerings stand out | Waverly Newspapers

Readlyn may be a small city, but it’s scrappy. Independent. Self-sufficient. It has the city services of a much larger town.

“We have our own electric utility,” said Mayor Dan Wedemeier, noting that that has “always” been the case. “We’ve just been doing it for so long and providing a good service. We buy wholesale from Butler County REC. They take excellent care of us.”

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Rams DT Aaron Donald to miss Week 13 with ankle injury but won’t need surgery – KIRO 7 News Seattle

The Los Angeles Rams lost another key member of its team this week.

Head coach Sean McVay announced Wednesday that star defensive tackle Aaron Donald would miss Sunday’s Week 13 game against the Seattle Seahawks while he recovers from a high-ankle sprain. McVay added that Donald won’t need surgery but is considered week-to-week.

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Top 5 first basemen in Astros history

Yuli Gurriel’s days as the Astros’ everyday first baseman are coming to an end with the addition of José Abreu, who the Astros signed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract this week. Whether he signs elsewhere or decides to stick around Houston as a utility player, Gurriel already has etched his name into the city’s history as one of the franchise’s best first basemen of all-time.

Gurriel is the only Astros’ first baseman to win a batting title, which he secured when he hit an American League-best .319 in 2021, and obviously, was the everyday first baseman for the franchise’s only two championship teams.

Still, the Astros have had All-Star first basemen throughout their franchise history going all the way back to Rusty Staub in the 1960s, Bob Watson in the 1970s, Glenn Davis in the 1980s, followed immediately by Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.

That’s a tough crew to crack, yet we found a spot for Gurriel. To clear things up — and possibly clear the way for Gurriel — we only included players who manned first base more than any other position in their time with the Astros. So, that eliminated from contention the likes of Staub, who played slightly more games in right field than he did first base, and César Cedeño, who played first base for a couple seasons but was mainly known as a center fielder, and Lance Berkman, who played a lot of first base (578 games there with the Astros), but was more often in the outfield.

5. Lee May (1972-74)

Lee May of the Houston Astros is down and ready to make a play on the ball against the Philadelphia Phillies during a 1973 game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lee May of the Houston Astros is down and ready to make a play on the ball against the Philadelphia Phillies during a 1973 game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Focus On Sport/Getty Images

May had an excellent 18-year big league career that included three All-Star Games and two World Series appearances, but he played just three seasons in Houston after he was dealt to the Astros as a key figure in the regrettable trade that sent Joe Morgan to Cincinnati. May was an All-Star in his first season in Houston, hitting .284 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI in the cavernous Astrodome. His 105 RBI the next year was second in the National League behind only Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell. In three seasons in Houston, May hit .274 with 81 home runs and 288 RBI with a .788 OPS.

4. Yuli Gurriel (2016-present)

Houston Astros Yuli Gurriel (10) react after hitting a double in the seventh inning during Game 5 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Houston Astros Yuli Gurriel (10) react after hitting a double in the seventh inning during Game 5 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Philadelphia.Karen Warren/Staff photographer

Gurriel is the only player on this list to not make an All-Star team, but he was invaluable on squads that made it to six straight American League Championship Series, four World Series and won two titles. He won a batting title in 2021, but his best season was probably 2019 when he hit .298 with 31 home runs and 104 RBI. In seven seasons in Houston, Gurriel hit .284 with 94 home runs, 435 RBI and a .776 OPS. He also hit eight home runs in 85 postseason games, including a key three-run shot in a wild and pivotal Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.

3. Glenn Davis (1984-90)

Glenn Davis of the Houston Astros swings at the pitch during a 1987 game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ill.

Glenn Davis of the Houston Astros swings at the pitch during a 1987 game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ill.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Davis was the big bat in the middle of the Astros’ lineup that came up just shy of making their first World Series appearance in 1986. Davis was so good in 1986, he narrowly missed being the franchise’s first MVP, finishing second to the Phillies’ Mike Schmidt after hitting .265 with 31 home runs — which was second-best in the National League — and 101 RBI. His 166 career home runs ranks seventh in Astros history and his .483 slugging percentage is ninth.

2. Bob Watson (1966-79)

Bob Watson of the Houston Astros bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during a 1978 game at Veteran Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bob Watson of the Houston Astros bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during a 1978 game at Veteran Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Watson played catcher and outfield in addition to first base for the Astros, but he played slightly more games at first than he did in left field during his 14 years in Houston. Watson, who made two All-Star teams, is all over the Astros offensive leaderboard, ranking in the Top 10 in career average (.297), home runs (139), RBI (782), doubles (241), hits (1,448), total bases (2,166) and offensive WAR (29.1).

1. Jeff Bagwell (1991-2005)

The Astros Jeff Bagwell signs autographs and greets fans before the 1993 season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies in the Houston Astrodome.

The Astros Jeff Bagwell signs autographs and greets fans before the 1993 season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies in the Houston Astrodome.

Kerwin Plevka/Houston Chronicle

There’s not much to debate here. Bagwell is a Hall of Famer and just one of two Astros to ever win a Most Valuable Player award. That 1994 MVP season is one of the best in franchise history when he hit .368 with 39 home runs and 116 RBI in just 110 games. He also led all of baseball with a .750 slugging percentage and the National League with a 1.201 OPS. For his career, which concluded with the first World Series trip in franchise history, Bagwell hit .297 (fourth-best in franchise history) with a franchise-record 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI. His 2,314 career hits is second behind Craig Biggio and his .948 OPS is fourth.

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