3 Astros players who could be traded before Opening Day

The Houston Astros lost a heartbreaking ALCS matchup against their bitter in-state rivals, the Rangers, and have made it clear this offseason that they’re aiming higher. The Astros went out and made arguably the most shocking signing of the offseason, bringing in Josh Hader to help form an elite bullpen and push Houston to favorite status to not only win the AL West but potentially the AL Pennant.

On top of their Hader signing, Houston extended their franchise player, Jose Altuve, on a five-year deal. Altuve was set to hit free agency at the end of this season but is now going to be in Houston for possibly the rest of his career.

While Altuve’s future is solidified, these three Astros players could be on the chopping block. Their time in Houston might come to a quicker end than they were expecting.

3) Framber Valdez could be a cap casualty as the Astros spend in other areas

By signing Josh Hader, the Astros have made themselves one of, if not the clear favorite to represent the AL in the World Series. Hader joining Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu in Houston’s bullpen gives them a late-game trio that no other team in the league can match or top.

While the 2024 Astros are scary, even with Altuve inking his extension, there are several key players in need of long-term contracts. Alex Bregman is the one who needs it the soonest as he’s a free agent at the end of the season.

After the 2025 season, both Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez are set to hit free agency. A Tucker trade shouldn’t be counted out until he gets paid, but with how much Valdez in particular can bring back with him being one of the best starting pitchers in the league, he’s a prime trade candidate.

So many teams need starting pitching, and every team can use a starter of Valdez’s caliber. If the Astros chose to place him on the block, they can get an absurd haul in return, helping them potentially extend their window past the 2025 season.

Keeping Bregman, Tucker, and Valdez on top of everyone else Houston has committed to long-term while building a well-rounded team capable of winning the World Series is a daunting task, and is one that feels unlikely to come to fruition. Trading one of those players like Valdez in exchange for several high-level assets to help the Astros compete long-term could make a whole lot of sense.

It’s not likely Valdez will be traded, but he could be if there’s an offer placed that Houston can’t refuse. Anyone without a long-term commitment can feasibly be dealt, and with how valuable pitching is plus Houston’s outstanding depth, Valdez might make the most sense as a player who the Astros can trade.

2) Jon Singleton could be traded by the Astros if he has a rough Spring Training

Jon Singleton was once a top Astros prospect who was expected to be a core piece for their future World Series teams. In fact, the Astros gave him a five-year extension worth eight figures of guaranteed money before he even made it to the big leagues. After finally getting there, Singleton struggled mightily and also had to sit through several drug-related suspensions before the Astros cut bait with him in 2018.

Eight years after appearing in his last MLB game, Singleton found his way back to the majors, this time in a Brewers uniform, this past season. He didn’t do much in Milwaukee and was eventually DFA’d. After going unclaimed, Singleton elected free agency and inked a minor league deal with the Astros. After a little over one month in the minors, Singleton got another shot with the Astros, but did little with it.

The 32-year-old slashed .194/.301/.323 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 73 plate appearances with Houston and had just two postseason place appearances. He’ll have a shot at earning a bench role with the Astros, and the fact that he’s out of minor league options helps his case, but it could also be what leads to an eventual trade.

If the Astros feel that he’s not suited to make the team out of Spring Training, they can look to trade him to get something rather than risk losing him for nothing. After all, they did just claim Trey Cabbage off of waivers this offseason who looks like a better, more versatile, and faster version of the power-hitting Singleton. Even if all they can get is cash considerations, that’s better than releasing him outright.

1) David Hensley could be an Astros trade candidate

In the 2022 season, David Hensley looked like a player who could be a key contributor in the future for the Astros in a utility role. He played just 16 regular season games after getting his first call-up in late August but he had 10 hits in 29 at-bats including four extra-base hits despite starting just seven games.

He’d make the postseason roster that season and start a pair of games in the World Series, recording two hits in seven at-bats in those games. Hensley even began the 2023 season as a starter at second base after Jose Altuve began the year on the Injured List. Unfortunately, he did not take advantage of that opportunity and his time in Houston might be over sooner than anybody expected.

Hensley had just 10 hits in 84 at-bats last season, striking out 35 times in his 94 plate appearances. He saw fairly regular playing time until Altuve returned in mid-May of last season. After Altuve returned, he had just eight plate appearances the rest of the way, failing to record a hit in any of them. He spent most of his time in the minors where he’d post underwhelming numbers.

While Hensley still has an outside shot at securing a bench spot, chances are, he’ll open the 2024 season in the minors. With middle infielders like Mauricio Dubon and Grae Kessinger slotted ahead of him on Houston’s depth chart and a top prospect like Zach Dezenzo knocking on the door, Hensley might not get another chance anytime soon. If another team out there believes in him, he might be an unexpected trade candidate.

This article was originally published on fansided.com as 3 Astros players who could be traded before Opening Day.

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