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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Astros Rumors: Trading Framber Valdez or Alex Bregman would be a mistake

Houston's trade options this offseason have been generating some buzz of late and with good reason. With the free agent market looking like it is going to rather pricey yet again and Houston having little in the way of free cash, getting creative on the trade market makes a ton of sense and Dana Brown's history with the Braves could really help Houston here.

However, one option that has been batted around this offseason in the media has been the possibility that the Astros could trade one or both of Alex Bregman and Framber Valdez. Bregman is entering the final year of his contract and his production has dipped while coming to terms on an extension with Framber has proven difficult, so trading these guys isn't without merit. However, the Astros still should avoid moving either one of them.

The fundamental problem is that Houston, at least at the moment, has a short-term competitive window they have to take advantage of. Justin Verlander is nearing the end of his career, Jose Altuve is getting older and is without a new contract, and there is a real chance that Kyle Tucker joins Valdez in free agency after the 2025 season. Given that Houston already struggled to win the division this year and still have the Rangers and Mariners to deal with going forward, any moves that could hurt the team in the short-term should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

Moreover, moving Bregman and/or Valdez is likely to introduce new problems for the Astros in 2024. Zach Dezenzo looks like he could be Houston's third baseman of the future, but he needs more time in the minor leagues and the Astros would probably prefer to upgrade at least one rotation spot as it stands now. The Astros getting rid of their starting third baseman and arguably their best pitcher just introduces new problems with uncertain answers in the short and long-term. If Houston is somehow out of it at the trade deadline, then sure...look hard at making some trades. Just don't do it this offseason.