4 X-factors that will make or break the Astros' offseason plans

Going into the offseason, the Astros have a lot of things to consider before they push their chips in on a gameplan.
World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three
World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Houston needs to find Dusty Baker's replacement at manager quickly

The elephant in the room with Houston right now is their situation at manager. With Dusty Baker's retirement now official, the Astros need to move quickly to get a new manager in place that can not only help guide the team to the playoffs again in 2024, but also provide perceived stability for prospective free agents.

By all accounts, the Astros aren't wasting much time in getting the search underway. Some names that have already been connected to the Astros include Brad Ausmus (please no), Joe Espada (that'd be fine), and Ron Washington (very intriguing, but there are some questions). Whoever the Astros choose, it will absolutely dictate how attractive Houston will be to free agents this offseason and Houston has to get the hire right.

However, the Astros aren't alone in needing a new manager next season with the Mets, Angels, Padres, and Guardians all needing to find new skippers this offseason. That is going to mean a lot of competition for the top names on the market, so Houston needs to act quickly and make competitive offers if they want to get their first choice.

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