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What’s next in the 2022 tournament?

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Justin Verlander Cy Young won Yordan Alvarez was a finalist for the best player, and in October and November, Dusty Baker delivered the band. Astros They got their second title In the franchise’s history of fielding six games by the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cherry placed on top of what had been dominant during both the regular season and the playoffs. After a tough 2020 campaign and a disappointing finish to 2021, the 2022 season was practically a dream come true.

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So what exactly should Astros fans be asking for this holiday season heading into 2023? Let’s celebrate the end of the year with a little Christmas wish list for team owner Jim Crane and company.

Register at least one major extension

The Astros were mediocre players in free agency with historic spending spread throughout the sport. Houston He signed first baseman Jose Abreu for a three-year deal, retaining designated hitter Michael Brantley and made a notable pursuit of the Cardinals’ freshman catcher Wilson Contreras. However, while New York teams broke spending records and Philadelphia and San Diego earned nine-figure shortstops, the Astros spent $72 million entirely of guaranteed money. Houston faces a crowded field of contenders as it looks to back-to-back championships.

The free agent’s massive outlay wasn’t quite due to a lack of trying as Contreras’ stalking indicated, and Crane has indicated he’s willing to shell out the big bucks because he now serves as Houston’s de facto decision-maker. Which brings us to another way in which Cranny can display his financial muscle: the extension market.

Houston has a number of young talent that could be a target for contract extensions ahead of the opening, headlined by right fielder Kyle Tucker. Signing Tucker to a deal that keeps him in Houston is probably the staple gift on any Astros fan’s offseason wish list. Although a fresh new car for a kid’s 16th birthday, this car might be out of the Astros’ price range. It’s not out of the question that Tucker could compete for close to $300 million if he hits the open market after the 2025 season. He’d be smart to hold off on an extension, barring an unexpectedly huge bid from Houston.

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Cristian Javier #53 and Framber Valdez #59 of the Houston Astros celebrate at the clubhouse after the Astros beat the Phillies, 4-1, in Game 6 of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, November 5, 2022 in Houston.

Daniel Cherry/MLB Images via Getty Images

Other candidates feel more attainable. Both anchors rotate Framper Valdez And Christian Javier could land deals that end their last three years of arbitration while they serve a few more seasons, possibly extending one of them beyond their 2024 expiration dates. It wouldn’t be a surprise if at least one member of this quintet was signed to an extension.

Hunter Brown arrives

The Houston prospect did little to quell expectations in his short first stint in the big leagues. Brown allowed only two earned runs in 20 1/3 innings pitched in the regular season, including his first career start in which he allowed zero earned runs through six innings. He was clean again in 3 2/3 innings of postseason assignments, pairing an arsenal of great stuff with veteran focus. The Browns lived up to the hype with the big league club after a dominant minor league campaign with Triple-A Sugar Land.

It’s unclear what exactly the Browns’ role will be in 2023. Houston still has to play one of baseball’s deeper cycles in 2023 even after Verlander is gone, and the Browns may very well find themselves on extended rest and immediate starting duty. I am not convinced of that. Brown can Very good to be a full time beginner If Houston chooses to rotate six players, that could be a wise decision as manager Dusty Baker seeks to keep his arms for October. Such a scenario could force Brown into this year’s rookie race. Brown marries a ’90s fastball with an impressive slider, and his smooth delivery is very much like Verlander’s. The things that came out in last year’s small sample aren’t going away anyway anytime soon.

We’re not going to hand Brown the hardware exactly yet with less than 50 MLB runs under his belt. Despite the early returns, this isn’t exactly an unattainable wish.

Hunter Brown delivers #58 of the Houston Astros during the 12th inning against the Seattle Mariners in Game 3 of the American League Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.

Hunter Brown delivers #58 of the Houston Astros during the 12th inning against the Seattle Mariners in Game 3 of the American League Series at T-Mobile Park on October 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

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Hiring a qualified general manager

Crane isn’t exactly a baseball rookie with collegiate experience plus a decade of owning the Astros, but bonuses like that aren’t exactly qualifications for running players for a major club. Houston fans must feel at least a little uneasy about the team’s current group of decision makers, which includes senior director of baseball strategy Bill Firkus, Team advisor and confident Crane Jeff BagwellAnd, mainly, Crane himself. It’s been a great season in Houston with Crane leading the way, but such a strategy is untenable in the long run.

After signing Abreu, the team hopes to hire a new general manager in 2023, ideally by Opening Day, Crane said. Let’s hope he keeps his word.

Another tournament

This is a bit obvious, though it’s worth a mention here as the Astros are looking to join some elite historic companies. The 2023 tournament will make Houston the first back-to-back champions in the 21st century. Dusty Baker’s team would be the fourth team since 1960 with three championships in a seven-year span, and Jose Altuve would become one of two players in the last 50 years (joining Buster Posey) with a regular-season MVP and three championships.

The Astros face a lot of competition for the Commissioner’s Cup in 2023. But for now, keep in mind that the Astros are the favorites to get to the Fall Classic again next October.



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