The stakes are high in Houston this off-season. The Astros just watched their in-state rival win a World Series as a result of their own complete inability to win a playoff baseball game at home. If the Astros could have back-doored their way into even one win at Minute Maid against the Rangers, they'd have likely overwhelmed the young and happy to be here Arizona Diamondbacks.
Alas, the Astros have a manager to hire, a roster to tweak, and a divison rival to catch as the toast of the league. If the Astros are to tweak their roster, and if Jim Crane's reluctance to sign big free agents remains, and there is no reason to expect that would change, they will need to get creative with trades.
4 Astros players to trade away this offseason
With a thin farm system, Houston will likely need to trade from their big league roster. Though injuries tested them this year, they do have a surplus of starting pitching and need to figure out what they're going to do in their outfield.
If Houston is going to land a name like David Bednar or Freddy Peralta, they'll need to part with some proven big-league players, as well as some big-league ready talent. Let's look at their off-season trade candidates.
#1 José Urquidy
José Urquidy has been a part of three Astros teams that have made a World Series, and with a 1.23 ERA in five World Series games, he's actually one of the best pitchers in World Series history.
Yet Urquidy is often the forgotten man from the Astros Golden Era. In his career, Urquidy has a 3.98 ERA, and even that was inflated due to his injury-riddled 2023 season. From 2019 to 2022, Urquidy posted a 3.74 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
As a testament to how good Houston has been, he often still was their sixth starter, but those are numbers many teams would ask for from their #3. Urquidy comes with two more years of team control, and he's got plenty of playoff experience.
His name has been thrown about for years now as a potential candidate, including the infamous agreed-upon trade of Urquidy for Willson Contreras that Dusty Baker vetoed at the 2022 deadline.
With Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia both due back at some point in 2024, a full season of Justin Verlander, and Spencer Arrighetti knocking on the big league doorsteps, this off-season is the time to move off of Urquidy in a package for an upgrade.