There is still a lot of baseball left to be played during the 2023 season, but the Houston Astros clearly have some well-defined needs heading into the offseason. Adding Justin Verlander at the trade deadline certainly helped out the rotation going into 2024, but the Astros could still use another bat for the outfield who ideally would be left-handed, another starter wouldn't be the worst idea for some depth, and there is always going to be a need for bullpen arms.
The 2024 season is going to be a pivotal one for Houston as their window of contention could be closing soon. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are both set to become free agents after next season and there is still no extension in place for Kyle Tucker or Framber Valdez who are set to hit the market the year after that. How the Astros handle things this offseason will set the tone for the next few years for better or worse.
Here are 4 pending free agents the Astros need to target this offseason
This list of free agent targets will be operating under the assumption that Houston won't be transitioning into rebuild/retool mode after the 2024 season. The Astros are never going to be huge spenders under Jim Crane, but he has consistently shown he is willing to be a top 10 payroll and to try and contend in recent years. A certain amount of accounting needs to happen for the significant raises that both Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez are going to get in arbitration next season, though.
Also, this list is going to be in flux all the way until this offseason. Extension talks and injuries could create new payroll wrinkles and needs as time goes on. It is also noteworthy that the entire list of free agents isn't really known yet as players with contract options/opt-outs/qualifying offers could add or subtract from the player pool. As a result, the focus for now will be on guys where there is a high confidence level that they will be available.
Let's take a look at four pending free agents that the Astros need to target this coming offseason.