The world has not been very kind to Houston sports as of late. The Texans delivered one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history and the Rockets fell short of a Finals appearance. However, larger than those two combined, the Houston Astros have been called out for one of the biggest cheating scandals of MLB’s history. And it’s come back to bite them. Hard.
The lack of incoming talent.
Nobody wants to play for cheaters, right? So even though they fell a few outs short of a 2019 World Series title, which would have been their second in 3 years, the team did not add one notable name to their squad this offseason. Emphasized by the notable loss of mediocre pitcher turned superstar Gerrit Cole, the team’s roster suffered greatly. It also can’t go without mentioning that owner Jim Crane had to focus on replacing the Astros GM and Manager this offseason. This resulted in the team missing out on names such as Anthony Rendon and Marcell Ozuna
No Spring Training = Injuries
The injury bug definitely hit the Astros this year and it hit them hard. Essentially every star Astro missed time this year. Verlander, Altuve, Springer and Bregman, just to name a few were all hurt at one point and it affected each of them dramatically. Altuve, 2017 MVP, Springer, 2017 WS MVP, and Bregman, 2019 MVP runner-up did not play like themselves this year whatsoever. Some might say it’s because they’re not cheating anymore. However if people thought about it logically, it’s more about the injuries. Justin Verlander, 2019 Cy Young award winner was hit the hardest. The aging legend injured his elbow in his first and only start of 2020 and while it looked like a return was possible, it’s now confirmed that he’ll be repeating what teammate Lance McCullers Jr just returned from: a long year on the IL due to Tommy John surgery.
George Springer. Michael Brantley. Yuli Gurriel. Josh Reddick. Those are 4 big names for Houston all in the final year of their contract. It’s become pretty evident Springer is leaving. Not because the Astros won’t pay him, but because of the scandal and he’s sure to get more money elsewhere. It’s hard to say with Brantley because he’s still a new Astro. There’s a chance both Yuli and Reddick come back, but again due to the scandal, it’ll be unclear what path they choose. Next year, guys like Correa, Verlander, Grienke and McCullers are all free agents, just to name a few. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens to all these Houston Icons.
Close your eyes Houston Fans. It’s going to be a rough few years for the teams you care about. The Houston Astros are bound to be good again at some point. But as far as the current era of Houston baseball, it’s looking like it’s coming to an end.