HOUSTON -- The scene Friday night at Minute Maid Park was mostly about a fun, charitable night featuring dressed-up ballplayers and a legendary band that had the crowd groovin' to the oldies.But amid the festive nature, and before Earth, Wind & Fire took the stage at the Astros' fourth annual Diamond
HOUSTON -- The scene Friday night at Minute Maid Park was mostly about a fun, charitable night featuring dressed-up ballplayers and a legendary band that had the crowd groovin' to the oldies.
But amid the festive nature, and before Earth, Wind & Fire took the stage at the Astros' fourth annual Diamond Dreams Gala, there was a little hot stove talk, too.
The big question: Could the Astros stage a reunion with Dallas Keuchel or Marwin Gonzalez, or both?
Owner Jim Crane hinted that there may be interest in the two free agents, both of whom played integral roles in the Astros winning the World Series in 2017 and who have been a major part of the club's resurgence in the past several seasons.
"We've got a couple guys that were here last year that are a possibility to be back here [this] year," Crane said. "We hope that happens."
Where Gonzalez would fit in is a little murkier than Keuchel, a former Cy Young Award winner who would surely fill a need in a rotation lacking veteran depth, given the absence of Lance McCullers, who's out until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The presumed loss of Keuchel, who has spent the offseason testing the free-agent market, created another hole in a rotation that will be highlighted by co-aces Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, and Collin McHugh, who will return to the rotation after spending '18 in the bullpen.
Could the void created by Keuchel be filled by ... Keuchel?
President and general manager Jeff Luhnow acknowledged that he is still seeking ways to improve the roster, but opted to stay mum on specific players he may be targeting.
"We've had interest in both of the players and they know it," Luhnow said. "Obviously they both were critical parts of our success the last six years. We'd love to keep them in the family. But that's something I can't talk about."
If the Astros were to sign one of the two, it would seem more logical that it would be Keuchel. There may not be room for Gonzalez, whose role was presumably filled by Aledmys Diaz, for whom the Astros traded early in the offseason.
Until Gonzalez and Keuchel officially sign, however, the Astros appear willing to keep the door open.
"Dallas is still out there -- I don't think he's signed yet, and Marwin either," Crane said. "Both great players and great for the franchise. They did a lot of work here and we appreciate what they did. They're always welcome. Maybe something will work out there. Who knows?"
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.