While the Astros' rotation is in a relatively decent spot, there are still some questions remaining. Will Justin Verlander be able to make it through another full season? What will Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia looks like when they return? Who is going to step up and take that last spot in the rotation? Again, these are a lot of unknowns to start a season for a team that has the World Series as a goal.
While Jose Urquidy has his own warts and recent injury issues, the Astros need to hang on to him, given the state of the rest of the rotation. While he may not even be a No. 3 quality starter, he does provide some depth that Houston sorely needs to preserve. If all goes to plan and guys return healthy, he can still be a swingman/multi-inning reliever and still provide value. If things go sideways, then the Astros still have him in the fold to cover innings.
Finally, we come to Mauricio Dubon, whose spot on the Astros roster is a weird one. Dubon's complete unwillingness to draw walks and inconsistent power have relegated him to a utility role with Houston. However, he still managed to get almost 500 plate appearances last season thanks, in part, to Jose Altuve missing so much time. That alone is a reason to keep him around.
Once Dubon and the Astros finish the arbitration process, Houston needs to use him in the exact same way they did in 2023: as insurance and to rest guys that need it. Dubon can play basically anywhere on the field, so older guys like Altuve, Jose Abreu, or even Alex Bregman should have days off built in with Dubon around. Could Dubon have more value to a team that is willing to play him every day? Maybe, but the Astros have Dubon under control for the next three years, and having a guy with his skillset around when the biggest thing Houston needs to do is to protect against things going wrong seems like the smart play, especially since he is such a cheap payroll investment.