How should the Houston Astros approach this offseason?

George Springer celebrates after home run
What does the future hold for George Springer? Photo from ClickHouston.

The Houston Astros face an important offseason. Gerrit Cole departed last winter, and they face the prospect of an outfield clearout this time round with George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick all heading for free agency.

Their infield remains for 2021, while the rotation looks relatively solid with Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Framber Valdez accompanied by Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy. Justin Verlander is expected to be absent next season, though, which could force Houston to look at veteran starters – there are plenty of experienced arms on the market.

The Houston Astros face an important offseason. Gerrit Cole departed last winter, and they face the prospect of an outfield clearout this time round with George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick all heading for free agency.

Their infield remains for 2021, while the rotation looks relatively solid with Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Framber Valdez accompanied by Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy. Justin Verlander is expected to be absent next season, though, which could force Houston to look at veteran starters – there are plenty of experienced arms on the market.

The Astros opened the offseason with World Series odds of +2500. They are very much outside the main group of contenders, languishing among the Twins, Cubs, and Mets. To become a predominant force in the American League, Houston needs to swing big this offseason.

That could simply mean keeping Springer, who is one of the top free agents on the market. The former World Series MVP is a fan favourite in Texas. He’s going to have plenty of suitors in free agency even in these uncertain financial times. Many teams will be cautious, which could help the Astros retain Springer at a lower price, but they will be lucky to get him for anything less than $100 million.

Committing big to Springer comes with risks. Houston already have $29 million per year going to Jose Altuve deep into the 2020s. Alex Bregman is earning over $30 million per season from 2023. If they re-sign Carlos Correa and McCullers next offseason, they could be looking at over $120 million on five players.

Springer, who celebrated his 31st birthday in September, might be the player who loses out as Houston construct a team to contend in the first half of this decade. It might hurt them in 2021, but a five-year deal for Springer would likely restrict spending in the coming years. The back end of his contract could be a burden for the Astros.


On the other hand, spending big on Springer this winter makes them better next season, and perhaps that’s all that matters. It would be a way of taking advantage of Bregman and Correa’s affordable salaries in 2021. Pair Springer with a couple of smart outfield signings and Houston will once again be a force to be reckoned with in the American League.

As is so often the case in Major League Baseball, Houston’s offseason will be defined by ownership’s willingness to spend. Springer will, like the vast majority of players, make his decision based on who offers him the most guaranteed money.

The Astros have been in the top 10 in payroll in each of the last three seasons. They have over $140 million committed for 2021, the fifth-highest in the league.

Signing Springer will take them towards $170 million and that’s before adding other outfielders or a veteran starter.

The All-Star outfielder will be the focal point of Houston’s offseason. It can still be a successful winter for the Astros even if Springer goes elsewhere, but bringing him back would be such a boost. There are plenty outfield options available to go alongside Springer. Replacing him is a much tougher task.

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About Sam Cox 507 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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