HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is ready to deal. So much so that the Astros general manager reiterated Tuesday that he expects to be able to make one or two deals to add players prior to the Winter Meetings, which begin on Dec. 4 near Washington, D.C.
The Astros, armed with a young core of talent, believe they'll be contenders in the American League West for the next few years and are eager to fill in their needs through trades or free agency. Houston is in the market for some bats -- there are holes in the outfield and catcher -- as well as starting pitching.
"I think we're in a position where we did all of our homework ahead of time, we know what holes we need to fill and we can be a little bit more aggressive than we have in years past," Luhnow said Tuesday. "There's some teams willing to move more quickly and some players and agents that are willing to move more quickly, and we're willing to go as fast as anybody will allow it.
"I do expect we'll have one or two transactions before we get to Washington."
The Astros have discussed possibly trading for Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who would be a nice complement as a left-handed hitter, as well as providing a veteran presence. They've also been reportedly linked to free-agent hitters Carlos Beltran and Jose Bautista in recent days. Outfielders Josh Reddick and Michael Saunders also seem to fit the mold what the Astros are looking for when it comes to offense.
"Anybody we add to our roster, we're hoping has a big impact," Luhnow said. "There's rumors out there about who we might be targeting and all that. We're looking for players that are going to help the core we have. We could use some pitching help, we could use another bat or two in the lineup, and those are the things we've been focused. And we have an opening at catcher as well."
Luhnow said the Astros are focused in their vision coming out of last week's General Managers Meetings in Arizona, which is a change from years past when they were willing to wait to see how the market shakes out.
The Astros are open for business.
"We are in our competitive window," Luhnow said. "We are going to be competing for the division title I hope every year for the next five years. We want to break through all the way through the World Series and win a championship, and I think it's possible with the core of young, exciting talent we have."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.