Alex Bregman is the latest in a long line of superstar Astros that should play out their career in Houston, but likely won't. Where other teams make locking up their homegrown talent a priority, the Astros have repeatedly let top talents leave in free agency.
When George Springer and Carlos Correa left, it hurt, but it was made more palatable by the prospects in waiting ready to take their spots. As the years go by, and as the Astros farm system has worsened, heir apparents are no longer waiting in the wings.
With that being the case, could Houston actually do the unthinkable and unload Alex Bregman to help re-load their system?
The Astros are believed to be listening to trade offers for Alex Bregman
Alex Bregman has one year left on his contract. We ranked him the fourth-most deserving of a contract extension earlier this off-season, and the only reason he wasn't higher is the client of Scott Boras will likely command close to $300 million on the free agent market.
While he is deserving of such a contract, there is no shot Jim Crane doles out such a deal. He's avoided deals longer than five years for the entirety of his tenure, and shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
It's a shame, as the Astros dynastic run could have been prolonged even further if they'd simply secured their homegrown talent as teams like the Braves do. When you have a World Series contending core, you should do everything in your power to keep them.
While Bregman likely won't be in Houston come 2025, there is simply no way they can justify trading him before 2024. As Ken Rosenthal pointed out in response to the rumors, his offense, defense, and leadership are far too valuable for a team with still very real championship hopes in 2024.
If Houston did send out Bregman, they'd effectively be bowing out of contention and turning the AL West over to the Rangers, and potentially Mariners. That's a move that can't happen when a third World Series title in eight seasons is on the line.
With the core of this team back for at least one more year, and with Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia set to return, the Astros should again be thinking championship or bust.
It will be hard enough to say goodbye to Bregman after 2024. Trading him early would be an insult to the fanbase and punting on a chance to extend a truly historic reign in the American League.