Relief pitching the primary target at Winter Meetings

Relief pitching the primary target at Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- The Astros' biggest news so far this offseason has been for a move they didn't make, coming up short on signing free-agent relief pitcher Andrew Miller despite offering more money than the Yankees did, as New York inked him to a four-year, $36 million deal.

As Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and his top front-office aides arrive in San Diego for the Winter Meetings, the club's pursuit of relief pitching figures to be front and center as every team and player agent are under the same roof for the next few days.

The Winter Meetings end Thursday morning with the Rule 5 Draft, where the Astros won't have the first pick for the first time in four years.

MLB.com is on site at the Winter Meetings and will bring you all the latest news and rumors concerning the Astros, who are also in search of corner infield help, a starting pitcher and a shortstop. Relief pitching, though, remains their top priority.

Houston has cast a wide net in free agency, but it could also be active in the trade market.

The Astros acquired Hank Conger from the Angels last month and now have four catchers, so it's likely one of them will get moved. And keep an eye on center fielder Dexter Fowler, who's entering his final year before free agency and could be an enticing player for another club.

Luhnow is scheduled to arrive in San Diego on Monday and will brief the media daily about the team's activity. New manager A.J. Hinch, who lives nearby and will be active in any roster discussions, will speak to the media at 5 p.m. CT Monday, and MLB.com will be there.

Astros fans can participate in the Winter Meetings chatter by leaving comments at Astros.com this week about the latest rumors and moves by the team. Should the Astros trade Fowler? Will they land free-agent relief pitcher David Robertson? Who should they target to play third base or shortstop next season?

The offseason Hot Stove is about to kick into full swing, and we'll have all of the news covered with daily reports. Check for fresh content on a regular basis and take part in the comments section to have your voice heard.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.