The Houston Astros made their third World Series appearance in five years, but have now lost in their past two, falling to the Atlanta Braves in this year's Fall Classic.
What does the Astros' future look like now that their 2021 postseason run is over? David Schoenfield takes a look at where Houston stands and answers three key questions for the club moving forward to 2022 and beyond.
Notable free agents: Carlos Correa, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Yimi Garcia, Kendall Graveman, Ryan Pressly ($7 million club option), Yuli Gurriel ($8 million club option)
The Astros will certainly pick up the options on Pressly and Gurriel, while Correa, Greinke and Verlander accounted for $66.3 million in payroll in 2021 (not counting the portion of Greinke's salary that Arizona paid).
Trade candidates: Nobody stands out. They will get calls on outfielders Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick, who both look like solid-average offensive contributors with plus defense in center field.
Extension candidates: Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy
Tucker is the one to watch here as Houston has already managed to sign Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman to extensions. He might be close to reaching their level after a big 2021.