The Astros are just a month removed from winning their first World Series in franchise history, but they are already looking ahead to next season.
Houston made a key move acquiring Tigers ace Justin Verlander before the August 31 waiver-trade deadline, and the defending champs are now ready to dip back into the starting pitching market.
According to The Athletic, the Astros are considering a move for Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish. The report also stated Houston is interested in a potential trade for Rays All-Star ace Chris Archer.
Current Astros star Dallas Keuchel reportedly signed super-agent Scott Boras, so he looks poised for free agency in 2019. It's possible the Astros are bracing themselves for losing their long-time ace.
An Astros move for Darvish could come with its share of problems because their first baseman Yuli Gurriel was suspended the first five games of next season for a racially insensitive gesture toward Darvish during the World Series. Both players handled the situation well, though, hinting they could put the incident behind them in the same locker room.
The Astros, not usually known as a big-market franchise, will receive money for its championship run, thus enticing them to further bolster their squad. Starting pitching remains Houston's biggest need for upgrade even after Verlander's addition.
Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. all pitched well last season, with Peacock and Morton proving World Series heroes out of the bullpen, but manager A.J. Hinch may opt to leave one or both in that role next season.
Adding the likes of Archer, Arrieta or Darvish would give the Astros flexibility and depth at a key position. With other contenders making huge moves, and with more likely to come, the Astros need to do something, and bolstering the rotation would help them enter next season as the favorites to repeat as champions.