Astros get fantastic news about rival's plans as players report to spring training

Things are looking better and better for Houston as the season nears.

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Seven / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Overall, things were already looking pretty good for the Houston Astros heading into the 2024 season. The vast majority of the roster that made yet another run to the ALCS last season remains in place with the notable addition of Josh Hader to help anchor the bullpen alongside Ryan Pressly.

Ultimately, it is hard to upgrade Houston's roster given how strong it already is, so the relative lack of activity this offseason still means they are among the favorites in the AL this coming season.

Helping the cause has been the lack of aggression from the Astros' chief rivals in the AL West, the Mariners and Rangers. One would have thought that winning a World Series title would've provided a boost of revenue and energy for the already-aggressive Rangers this offseason. On the other hand, Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto has never heard a trade proposal that he hasn't wanted to at least explore.

However, both teams have only made some marginally impactful additions while losing key players from their 2023 rosters. If either team actually improved this offseason (with the Mariners having the only real argument there), it wasn't by much.

The news got even better for Houston on Wednesday when Rangers GM Chris Young spoke to the media. During that appearance, he said in no uncertain terms that the Rangers aren't likely to add anyone else of note before the start of the season.

The Rangers standing pat in free agency is great news for the Astros

The biggest impact here is obviously the fate of Jordan Montgomery, who was a huge reason the Rangers were able to win the title last season. Most expected Texas to bring him back this offseason, however, Young indicated that the Rangers' TV revenue uncertainty has severely hampered them this offseason.

While Young's comments could be trying to send a signal to Monty and Scott Boras that they are going to need to settle down with their contract demands, it does seem like a reunion with the Rangers is pretty unlikely at the moment. Spring training is already here, and while Boras may end up getting Montgomery a nice nine figure deal, the Rangers very clearly don't feel that motivated (or able) to get publicly involved in the bidding for him.

Obviously this is fantastic news for the Astros' chances in 2024. The defending champion, who also happens to be a key division rival, having an injury-riddled rotation is also losing their best pitcher from its postseason run. The true test will be when guys like Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer return from their injuries, but things are very promising for Houston early on when it comes to defending their division title and rebounding come playoff time.

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