The Houston Astros' talented roster may soon become significantly less so.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported there is a perception the Astros are facing an "exodus" of stars due in large part to the reaction to the team's sign-stealing scandal. George Springer, Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are all slated to become free agents this winter.
While it was unlikely the Astros would bring them all back under normal circumstances, players appear ready to rid themselves of the cheater label that's clouded the franchise's 2020 season.
Perceptions can change—especially if the Astros back up a Brinks truck in negotiations—but being on Houston's roster has not been an easy task in 2020. The Astros have been regularly plunked by opposing pitchers and gotten into multiple altercations that have led to suspensions, most recently a 20-game ban for bench coach Alex Cintron after a brawl with the A's.
It's nearly impossible to tell what the offseason landscape will be in any sport due to the financial ramifications of COVID-19. Teams are almost certainly going to be more conservative with handing out huge long-term contracts. That could lead to a proliferation of short-term deals, with players hoping finances stabilize in 2021 enough to re-enter the market with a better shot of cashing out.
Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are set to be free agents after the 2021 season.