HOUSTON -- James Click’s first full offseason as Astros general manager figures to be a busy one, with a couple of key players facing free agency.
Here’s a primer for everything the team will face in the coming weeks and months.
Did any of them receive qualifying offers?
Springer was the only Astros free agent to receive a qualifying offer, which is a one-year contract worth the average of the top 125 salaries in Major League Baseball ($18.9 million for next year). Brantley was also a candidate, though the Astros opted not to extend him a QO before Sunday's 4 p.m. CT deadline. Reddick and Peacock weren't candidates to get qualifying offers.
Springer has 10 days from Sunday's deadline to decide whether to accept it or reject. If he accepts it, he will be considered signed for the 2021 season at $18.9 million. If he rejects it, he will be a free agent and Houston will receive a compensatory Draft pick if he signs with another team.
Which players had options?
The Astros exercised their $2 million club option for left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley, who was acquired from the Reds in a trade in August. Houston had to notify him about its decision on the option within five days of the end of the World Series.
Who needs to be added to the 40-man roster this winter to avoid the Rule 5 Draft?
The name to watch is the club's No. 1 prospect, Forrest Whitley, who needs to be added this year. That’s probably a formality at this point, even though Whitley didn’t reach the big leagues in a season that saw 10 Astros pitchers make Major League debuts. Others to watch are shortstop Freudis Nova (the Astros' No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) and right-handers Jairo Solis (No. 8), Tyler Ivey (No. 12), Jose Alberto Rivera (No. 14) and Peter Solomon (No. 27), who had Tommy John surgery last year.
The deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft is Nov. 20.
What kind of help do they need and will they be active in free agency?
Unless they can retain both Springer and Brantley, the Astros will need to fill a void in their outfield. It’s unlikely they’ll begin the season with Myles Straw or Chas McCormick as starters, and Kyle Tucker will hold down one of the three starting spots. Names in free agency to keep an eye on are Jackie Bradley Jr., Jake Marisnick, Robbie Grossman and Joc Pederson.
The Astros will also be in the market for at least one reliever. They’ll have veterans Ryan Pressly and Joe Smith back next year, along with emerging youngsters Enoli Paredes, Raley, Blake Taylor and Andre Scrubb, but with Osuna, Devenski and Peacock gone and Josh James coming off hip surgery, there’s a definite need in the bullpen. Among the bigger free agents are Liam Hendriks, Alex Colomé and Blake Treinen.