While facing an impending move to the American League, the Houston Astros have a clear need for impact players. From Jose Altuve to Jordan Schafer, the Astros have a few key players that need to stay within the system.
While they are currently sitting at 23-31, the current team has played over expectations. In ESPN's preseason rankings, the Astros sat in last place among all clubs. Many believed that Houston's inexperience would lead to an awful outcome. However, the team are having a positive season and should hope to continue at their current pace.
If the Astros continue to grow, they should be a decent ball club in three to five years. However, in order to do so, the 'Stros have to lock up their young talent.
Although the team don't have any immediate holes, the trend in baseball is to lock up players in their pre-arbitration years on high year/low cost contracts before the player becomes a star. Such moves can be seen with the Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria and Matt Moore.
These trends help teams in the bottom third in baseball in terms of payroll, something which the Astros know dearly about.
Soon this team will be void of Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers's contracts and be able to lock up younger players as they rebuild their farm system.