3 mistakes the Astros absolutely cannot afford to make at the Winter Meetings

The Astros need to make sure they don't screw things up at the Winter Meetings if they want to keep competing at a high level in 2024.
Oct 22, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) reacts
Oct 22, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) reacts / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Astros' rumor mill has been very quiet this offseason so far. Other than the drama surrounding Dusty Baker's retirement and the subsequent search for his replacement, there has been little in the way of news regarding free agent or trade chatter with Houston beyond some wishful thinking regarding trading for Dylan Cease.

Some of this is because the offseason market as a whole has been pretty quiet so far as the league awaits the fates of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Once at least one of those guys signs, things should accelerate fairly quickly as the teams with money that are eliminated from those chases spend their dollars elsewhere. However, a bigger issue is that the Astros don't have much in the way of payroll space or prospect capital to get much done this offseason. Right now, betting on a pretty quiet offseason in Houston seems like the smart bet.

However, that doesn't mean that there is no hope for Dana Brown to make some moves and with the Winter Meetings starting early next week, Houston's strategy this offseason should become more clear. That said, the Astros don't have much room for error this offseason, so here is a look at the mistakes the Astros need to avoid making once the Winter Meetings get started.

Astros Rumors: The Astros need to avoid signing Martin Maldonado again

We are going to beat this drum until Maldonado is for sure not going to be on Houston's roster next season. Was Maldy a fine player for a long time and does he know this Houston pitching staff very well? Absolutely. However, he was one of the worst players in baseball in 2023 and despite that, Houston's affection for his intangibles was costly last season as he was given far more playing time than he should have been.

With the Astros already rumored to be interested in a reunion with Maldonado, Houston needs to find a different back-up catcher to protect themselves from themselves. With Houston going with Espada as their new manager, he is likely to have some affection for Maldy as well and that threatens to take playing time away from the strictly superior Yainer Diaz. If Houston wants to sign Maldonado as a coach or advisor, that could be great. Just sign Victor Caratini or someone else as a back-up to Diaz and avoid Maldy taking the field again.