The Houston Astros are in the midst of a World Series push, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about the offseason.
Houston has been a perennial World Series contender since 2017, but if the Astros want that to continue into the future, then the organization is going to have to make sure to retain some key players this winter.
Carlos Correa has already made it clear that he doesn’t plan to return to the team in 2022, which will obviously be a big loss.
But if the Astros can keep these two players around, then they’ll be in good shape to contend next season.
2. Zack Greinke
The Astros have a surplus of quality starting pitchers, but bringing back Zack Greinke next season simply makes too much sense.
Given his age and production in 2021, he would likely come at a low price.
The 38-year-old finished the regular season with a 4.16 ERA, 4.71 FIP, and 1.17 WHIP.
It certainly seems like his best years are behind him, but he’s still a serviceable arm.
Zack Greinke strikes out Matt Chapman on nasty slider pic.twitter.com/S3FCOhMD3x
— Tony Adams (@adams_at) April 2, 2021
If the Astros were to bring him back, he could serve as a long-innings reliever or back-of-the-rotation arm.
It’ll definitely be an interesting situation to monitor.
It’s also probably worth asking the question of whether or not Greinke will return to baseball at all in 2022.
The veteran has already accomplished a LOT, and it’s always possible that he’ll decide to walk away from the game.
But if he does want to continue, the Astros should try to make sure that it’s with them.
1. Yuli Gurriel
Yuli Gurriel has had a unique professional baseball journey.
In 2016, he defected from Cuba, and he made his MLB debut with the Astros at the age of 32.
Today, he’s 37 years old, but he has only completed six seasons at the MLB level.
His age hasn’t affected his production, though.
Gurriel is coming off of a fantastic 2021 regular season in which he won the American League batting title.
He slashed .319/.383/.462 and posted an OPS+ of 131.
He homered 15 times, doubled 31 times, and drove in 81 runs.
That sort of production is nothing new for Gurriel.
He has had a great MLB career so far, as he’s a lifetime .293 hitter with an OPS of .804.
Obviously, this is a guy the Astros should want to keep around for the foreseeable future.
"I love you Houston!!" -Yuli Gurriel
We love you back, 🍍 pic.twitter.com/M2oqSj80ms
— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) October 24, 2021
Fortunately for Houston, retaining Gurriel this offseason is going to be relatively easy.
His deal has a club option for the 2022 season, which the Astros will almost certainly exercise.
Fans in Houston can prepare for another exciting year watching the infielder.
While Greinke and Gurriel might not be elite players at this juncture, they’re both key members of this Astros team.
The club would be losing a fair amount of value if one or both guys were to leave the organization.
Fortunately, at minimum, it seems like a sure thing that Gurriel will be back.
As for Greinke, we’ll have to wait and see.
His future is a bit of a mystery at this point.