In conjunction with this post, Anthony Franco will hold an Astros-centric chat on 11-23-22 at 11:00 am CST. Click here to leave a question in advance.
After a few years of near-misses, the Astros returned to the top of the league in 2022 by claiming their second title in franchise history. They’ve won 100-plus games in four of the last five full seasons and will be one of the top handful of championship favorites next season. Expectations are high as ever in Houston, but months of tension in the front office culminated in a change atop baseball operations just days after their parade. The Astros are suddenly one of the league’s more unpredictable teams going into the offseason — but there’s no question any moves are going to be geared towards maximizing their chances of a repeat.
Total future commitments: $373.75MM
Total 2023 commitments: $121.25MM
Arbitration-Eligible Players (service time in parenthesis, projections via Matt Swartz)
Non-tendered: Josh James
Total arbitration projection: $27.1MM
For a remarkable sixth straight season, the Astros advanced to the AL Championship Series in 2022. The past four years had seen the season end on a disappointing note, with a defeat in either the ALCS or the World Series. That wasn’t to be this year, as the 106-win team swept the Yankees to secure the fifth pennant in franchise history. They finished the job with three straight wins after going down 2-1 against the Phillies, claiming the organization’s second World Series title.
With that kind of success, one would assume the good vibes would continue into the offseason. Towards the end of the year, however, reports emerged about tension behind the scenes — primarily between owner Jim Crane and general manager James Click. As Houston’s lead baseball executive saw his contract expire, the Astros entered the offseason with uncertainty about their long-term direction. Things came to a head when Crane offered Click a one-year contract extension — a proposal below the norm for an executive whose team had accomplished what the Astros have over the past three seasons. Click declined, and the Astros let him go thereafter.
For the first time in three-quarters of a century, the defending World Series winners parted with their baseball operations leader. Houston enters the offseason without a…