A record-setting seventh straight trip to the ALCS for the Houston Astros can hardly be deemed a failure. But around these parts, it's World Series or bust.
5 offseason needs that the Astros need to address before the 2024 season
After dominating them throughout the regular season, the Astros came up short against the Rangers with a pennant on the line. In order for the Astros to bounce back and make a deep run again in 2024, they'll need to address these areas of need in the offseason.
Let's take a look at what Houston needs to accomplish before Opening Day.
#1: A return to their analytical roots
One of the biggest things that killed Houston was their off-season in 2023. They spent $60 million on a bunch of aging veterans that underperformed or missed extended time to injury all season. Michael Brantley's contract is off the books, but José Abreu and Rafael Montero are back.
The Astros would be wise to spend aggressively and extend some of their homegrown talent as most contending teams do, but they need a return to the Jeff Luhnow/James Click model.
Both GMs were more analytically minded, which owner Jim Crane didn't like. Crane surrounded himself with "baseball minds" in Reggie Jackson and Jeff Bagwell instead.
No disrespect to the Hall-of-Famers for their on field exploits, but it's the Sig Medjal, Mike Elias, and Andrew Freemans of the world that build perennial contenders.
With Dusty Baker finally moving on, Houston needs a manager that won't make lineup decisions based on vibes and loyalty to aging vets, but ones that a team interested in winning it all would make.
If Jim Crane can swallow his pride and admit his disdain for the analytical types got them in this mess, reversing course could prolong their window of contention. If they stay in the direction they're currently trending, Houston's Golden Era is officially behind them.