The biggest reason that this offseason has moved so slowly just resolved itself when Shohei Ohtani finally decided to sign with the Dodgers for an absurd amount of money. Sadly for the Houston Astros, Ohtani's fate doesn't really change their plans for the rest of the offseason or at least not directly.
With the Astros' payroll limitations and the simple fact that so many of their everyday roster spots are locked in, Houston isn't likely to all of a sudden jump into the fray for the top free agents now that the market is moving again. They certainly need to rebuild their bullpen after some key free agent losses there, but even a lot of those moves are probably going to end up being minor ones as Houston just doesn't seem to have the payroll space to chase after a guy like Josh Hader or even try to bring back Hector Neris.
Making matters worse, some of the Astros' chief rivals look like they could get aggressive in the coming days and weeks ahead with the market finally freed of Ohtani Watch. Here are some of the rumors that, if they actually end up being true, could ruin the Astros' offseason outlook now that things are moving again.
Astros actually keeping Jake Meyers?
One of the more persistent rumors this offseason has been that the Astros could look to use Jake Meyers as trade bait this offseason. With the emergence of Chas McCormick last offseason and Joey Loperfido lurking in the minor leagues as a strong option for left, moving Meyers could boost Houston's chances of upgrading their rotation or even help target a higher end reliever on the trade market.
Unfortunately, the Astros' front office seems to be more inclined to keep Meyers right now and that is less than ideal. General manager Dana Brown indicated at the Winter Meetings that Meyers would get the chance to be the Astros' everyday centerfielder as the team loves his defense and think that if he can just take a step forward at the plate, he could turn into a very valuable player.
At the end of the day, this does feels a little like trade posturing. If the Astros can actually convince other teams that they are happy to keep and play Meyers in 2024 despite his offensive deficiencies last year, it is possible that they can get possible trade partners to be more aggressive with trade proposals for him. However, if Houston is serious about keeping him, it takes one of their better trade pieces off the table and makes making a splash on the trade market a whole lot harder.