Now that the Houston Astros have replaced Dusty Baker, general manager Dana Brown can finally get back to the task of figuring out how to navigate this offseason and improve the Astros' roster while navigating payroll limitations AND trying to get extensions for key players done. It is fair to say that Brown is certainly being put to the test at the moment.
Most agree that an extension for Jose Altuve is eventually going to get done. The exact numbers on what such an extension could look like are up for debate, but there are not a lot of folks out there that think that Altuve is actually going to leave Houston. The same cannot be said for Alex Bregman as more and more folks are beginning to think that Bregman will play his last season with the Astros in 2024. Between having limited payroll space, trying to work out extensions with guys like Altuve and Kyle Tucker, and Bregman's projected salary vs. his declining production, the writing does appear to be on the wall.
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The next few weeks are set to be busy for the Astros. They are already shopping Jake Meyers on the trade market and they have been among the teams that covet White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease. However, going after Cease could be a tall order as while they would love the pitching upgrade, they may not be willing or able to give up the amount of talent that is going to be required to acquire him.
The Winter Meetings are coming up very quickly and many fans don't actual know what a big deal the meetings are in the grand scheme of things. Here is a quick rundown of what the Winter Meetings are as well as what we could expect out of Houston there. Given the lack of moves league-wide so far, the market could move very quickly once all of MLB's executives are gathered in one place.
It would actually really behoove the Astros to act BEFORE the Winter Meetings get started. Currently, Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto's free agencies have many of the big spenders in a holding pattern. As a result, we did take a look at some of the moves that the Astros should make before the Winter Meetings start and more bidders enter the arena for the guys that they could be targeting.
It was a really quiet holiday week for the most part across baseball with the biggest move of note being when the Braves signed Reynoldo Lopez to a three year deal. However, that could change soon as Shohei Ohtani is rumored to be making his decision on where he will play soon and Yamamoto is supposed to begin meeting with teams this week.
Once a big name or two signs this offseason, expect the dominos to start falling very quickly. If those moves happen before the Winter Meetings, fans can expect a ton of activity at the meetings themselves. If not, the market could remain frozen until someone blinks in December.