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On the Astros: What I would like to see this offseason

Nope, it doesn't involve Jason Heyward wrapped in pretty paper.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

What would I like to see this offseason? Nothing much, really.

In a free-agent class that is brimming with talent, that seems a ridiculous answer.


Recently, in baseball, contracts have been soaring. And, that is exactly why we should do nothing. The size of the contracts doesn't bother me in the slightest, though. Yes, the average per year is hitting incredible new heights, but it should be. Baseball, as a sport, is basking in cash right now. The Houston Astros, who have just $58 million in guaranteed contracts for next season, had a revenue of $175 million last season. And, that figure will start to soar now that the Astros are a legitimate playoff contender.

The Astros, like the rest of baseball, are most likely rolling in cash right now. The Astros have a relatively small, and modest payroll. The Astros should now be competing for a playoff berth, year after year, and I have no issue with big money being paid to big ticket free agent signings. Yet, here I am, advocating that the Astros should do very little this offseason.

Baffling, really.

My issue, however, stems from the ridiculous length of contracts. I understand the premise of it; players, in their prime, will produce enough value to offset the burden they will be in the latter years of their contract. Take, for example: Robinson Cano. An excellent second baseman. Over the next few years, Cano will be worth every penny (most likely), but when he's in his age forty season? Not so much. But, that's okay! The Cano of now will allow Seattle to forgive him for his awful production as her nears the end of his contract.

But, that said, the Astros are a special case. They aren't just any team. They, currently, have just completed a rebuild. The days of drafting high are gone, yes, but the rewards are being reaped in the major leagues. We have been graced with quality, young, cost controlled, and incredibly exciting player after player. The payroll is so bare, it screams for a big name, attached to a big contract, it seems. But, nope. Let's not forget the process.

For around three years, concerning payroll only (not the value the player will likely bring), a Heyward, or a Greinke signing would appear genius. Reinforcing an already strong roster with a big name signing, all while maintaining a relatively low payroll. However, when Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker, George Springer, Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and, many, many more, start to hit arbitration, or worse, free agency, we would be made to rue the contracts given out this offseason.

I, for one, almost certainly never want to see Correa, or Keuchel, or Springer, leave via free agency. I want to ensure that, when the day comes, we are ready to lock them up. With some big contracts already on the payroll (say Heyward, or heck, even Joey Votto if it ever came to it) the Astros simply couldn't afford to keep very many of their home-grown, fan-favourite, ever-producing players.

I love Heyward, but I prefer Keuchel in 2019, to be honest.

While the rebuild may be over, and the time to win may be here, let's not forget that the future is bright. And, when I say future, I'm looking beyond 2019; I'm looking at the next decade. With the incredible youth we have, currently, the next decade bright. To further the point, let's extend the example of singing Jason Heyward.

Imagine, given how highly desirable Heyward is in the market, the Astros sign the right fielder to an eight year, $190 million deal. In the early years of the contract, it would be a complete steal. In the latter years, it would actually be reasonable (yes, that's how special Heyward is).

Yet, it would still hamstring the Astros' true desires. Hypothetically, paying $20 million a year for a two win player come 2021, (given what he has likely already produced), is pretty reasonable in the now, and rather excellent in the grand scheme of it all. But, doing the said while Correa/McCullers/Tucker are hitting free agency, and having already extended Keuchel/Springer, would be a huge hinderance.

Even in the case of Heyward, who is beautifully young for being a free agent, a big, long, now standard contract would hamstring the Astros. It could potentially be the difference in the Astros extending, say, Keuchel, and extending both Keuchel and Correa. I, personally, am not taking that risk. So, yes, a big name free agent would be glorious. But, I'm team home grown talent all the way. Let's not forget the process.

Signing a reliever or two, or making a trade or two doesn't bother me. The Astros have plenty of payroll flexibility, as I've already mentioned. But, the big free agent contracts, and their lengthy nature are a no go. Heyward, or Greinke, or Price would be fabulous. But, extending Correa, and the rest of our young core in the future, would be even more fabulous. Stay away from the desire of adding a big name, and stick to the process.

I guess, being able to stay away from the type of contracts this article is about, is the essence of a complete rebuild. Young, cost controlled talent can help you win for the cheap in the short term. While, in the long term, granting yourself the payroll flexibility to extend these players. Beating the Yankees, with a payroll half their size, while gearing towards when our young starlets are ready for a big pay raise, sounds good to me.


What would I like to see this offseason? Nothing much, really.

With such a bright future in Houston, it's the obvious answer.