While baseball fans are focused on the current crop of free agents still available this offseason, CBS Sports has turned its attention to upcoming free agent class. Earlier this week, R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports released his too-early 2025 MLB free agency rankings with predictions.
Next year's free agent class is noteworthy to fans of the Houston Astros as three of the team's top players could be free agents heading into next winter. The existing contracts of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Justin Verlander will all expire after the 2024 World Series.
But CBS Sports' forecast of the Astros should give the fans hope heading into the unknown. While much of the Houston fanbase is focused on their team's pursuit of another AL West title, the front office is undoubtedly looking at next year's offseason.
Jose Altuve & Alex Bregman could be free agents next winter
Outside of New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto, Alex Bregman is likely to be the top free agent heading into next offseason. Houston's third baseman is a two-time All-Star and has finished in the Top 5 of the AL MVP voting twice during his eight seasons in H-Town.
CBS Sports foresees Bregman, whose agent is Scott Boras, testing the free agent waters next offseason. The outlet notes Bregman's age (29) and steady production as reasons he's likely to draw a lot of attention next winter. While it's predicted that Bregman is the least likely to return after next season, the possibility remains.
A much rosier picture is painted, however, when it comes to Houston's beloved second baseman Jose Altuve. CBS Sports views the All-Star infielder as the fifth-best free agent available during the 2024-25 offseason.
It's noted that Astros' GM Dana Brown has hopes of keeping both Altuve and Bregman in Houston for the entirety of their careers. It's viewed far more likely that the Astros' top decision-maker is able to do so with Altuve. CBS Sports predicts that Altuve and the Astros are able to reach a contract extension allowing the former AL MVP to remain in Houston.
While most of the attention heading into next winter will be focused on the two Astros infielders, Justin Verlander's contract is up after next season as well. However, the former Cy Young Award-winner can gain a player-option if he surpasses 140 innings pitched. CBS Sports predicts Verlander will enter free agency one more time, and his future is very much a toss up.
Though the Houston Astros cannot neglect their current roster, the front office must do so with an eye toward the future. According to MLB Pipeline, the Astros don't have any Top 100 prospects knocking on the door. Without many viable in-house upgrades, re-signing their own players may be crucial for the Astros next winter.