The MLB Lockout is Upon Us, 4 Ways It Impacts the Astros

Could Alex Bregman's rehab be impacted by the lockout?
Could Alex Bregman's rehab be impacted by the lockout? Photo by Jack Gorman
On Wednesday night, Major League Baseball officially declared a lockout after the players' union and officials from MLB were unable to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement before the previous CBA expired. Most around the league do not expect this to be a long lockout or even for it to impact Spring Training (we'll see on that one) because the sides seem relatively close on a number of crucial issues.

Nevertheless, it means teams cannot communicate with players and the hot stove league is on ice until the league and union resolve their differences. So, what does that mean for the Astros?

Young pitchers won't have the benefit of time with new pitching coaches.

Long time pitching coach Brent Strom left the team at the conclusion of the 2021 season and landed in Arizona. A pair of his proteges remain in his stead, but the man who is arguably the most important pitching coach in the last decade is gone. While this might not affect someone like Justin Verlander, younger pitchers who have come to rely on Strom's wisdom and ability to make them better would have benefitted from an offseason working with, or at the very least, communicating with, their new pitching coaches.

With so many young arms set to return to the lineup next year, the more time they get working with coaches, the better. Right now, they are stuck in limbo.

Offseason rehab could be a little more difficult for Alex Bregman and Jake Meyers.

It was reported that Bregman had successful surgery on his wrist following the conclusion of the World Series. Many have speculated that this injury was one of the main reasons for the downturn in Bregman's efficiency at the plate. Jake Meyers, who emerged as the team's almost everyday center fielder, was injured in the postseason crashing into the outfield wall. He is not expected to return perhaps until opening day.

Both players will require rehab in the offseason and without access to team physicians and facilities, that will be made that much more difficult. Bregman seems to be poised to handle it. He's a veteran and no doubt has an organized offseason routine. Meyers, on the other hand, is a young player who will need guidance. Here's hoping he gets it.

Free agency is less of an issue for the Astros.

The one bit of good news for the Astros is they have fewer issues to address in free agency thanks to the re-signing of Justin Verlander and the signing of free agent reliever Hector Neris. GM James Click doesn't have nearly as many holes to fill this offseason as some of his counterparts do. It's likely why we saw the frenzy of high-dollar signings by the Texas Rangers the week before the lockout.

There is one pretty notable exception, however...

What's going to happen with Carlos Correa?

Many of the big spending teams with shortstop needs are off the table. The biggest signing was the deal the Rangers gave to Corey Seager at 10 years and a whopping $325 million. That would seem to set the bar for any deal involving Correa, who has let it be known he wants a deal that would sign him up for a decade. Seager, as talented of a shortstop as he might be, is no Correa, setting a price tag of closer to $350 million for the Astros star.

The lockout throws a bit of a wrench into the works when it comes to Correa signing somewhere. The Astros don't appear willing to budge on their max of five or six years for a contract length, but there are not a ton of teams out there available to sign him either. Will he be able to find a contract that he wants in a shortened free agency period or might he opt to return to the team where he has been his whole career for fewer years but just as much money per season?
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke