Rangers’ lack of spending is gifting the Astros a window to capitalize this offseason

Against all odds, the Astros still have a chance to make up ground in the AL West
Oct 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) singles during the fourth
Oct 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) singles during the fourth / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As much as has been made about the Houston Astros' inaction this offseason, they at least have the knowledge that their current roster has a lot of strengths going into 2024. The Astros' offense is still incredibly spooky even if it isn't quite what it was a few years ago, the rotation led by Framber Valdez and Justin Verlander has a nice mix of experience and youthful upside, and the backend of the bullpen remains strong.

It is hard to feel that great about how this offseason has went beyond that, though. The team has made basically zero improvements to the roster that just barely won the AL West and got bounced unceremoniously in the playoffs by their division rivals, the Texas Rangers. With the Rangers as the defending World Series champs and the Mariners likely to hang around again as well, it isn't a reach to suggest that Houston shouldn't be favored to win the division next year as things stand.

However, a surprising development this offseason regarding those pesky Rangers gives hope that the Astros could somehow turn things around and actually make up some ground going into 2024.

The Astros need to punish the Rangers for a quiet offseason following their World Series win

Normally after a team wins it all, said team is flush with cash from the postseason run and motivation to get back there again. There are exceptions to that rule like with teams that have multiple guys leaving after the season for one reason or another or teams like the Marlins that like to have fire sales to eliminate any hope of building a fanbase that care about them. However, the Rangers don't fit into either group and yet they have done very little this offseason. What gives?

Well, it does come down to money, but not in the usual way. Like many teams throughout the league, the Rangers' TV distribution situation is in flux at the moment due to Diamond Sports Group, who holds those TV rights, being bankrupt.

While a number of teams across the league are being impacted, the Rangers are one of the few teams who could have their TV distribution dropped altogether before the 2024 season. Given that combined with the oodles of money they have committed the last few years in free agency on guys like Jacob deGrom, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager, Texas has had to pump the brakes on doing much of anything until their TV situation is resolved.

While it sucks for the Rangers and their fans, the whole situation is a gift that the Astros should not squander. As of this moment, Houston hasn't actually ceded any more ground since the end of the season and things may actually get better if Texas can't bring back Jordan Montgomery. They have a bullpen they need to be aggressive in rebuilding and adding a reliable rotation arm or an outfield bat would be nice as well. If Houston doesn't get busy, there is a real chance that Texas' TV situation gets sorted out and they could put the AL West out of reach for the Astros.

More Astros News from Climbing Tal's Hill