The playoffs seem further away than ever to Houston Astros fans these days. The team is struggling at a level fans aren't used to. The good news is the organization has been approaching the rebuilding phase aggressively.
Getting back to the playoffs will be a long, arduous and painful process for fans to watch. There will be growing pains and plenty of games where it will seem impossible for the team to get back to playoff contention.
The recent success that teams like the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are enjoying should give fans of the Astros reason for optimism. Those three teams are coming off of difficult rebuilding processes. Now, it's paying huge dividends in the form of wins at the big league level.
The Astros can find a way back to the playoffs, but it will take a similar successful rebuilding effort. Here are five things that must happen for the Astros to make the playoffs in the future.