The Houston Astros shocked the baseball world by signing Josh Hader to a massive five-year deal. The Hader addition to a bullpen that already had dynamic arms like Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu gives the Astros the most dominant late-game bullpen trio in the majors and could be what makes them favorites to not only win the AL West, but potentially the AL Pennant after last season's crushing loss in the ALCS to the Rangers.
While things certainly look up for the 2024 season, the future is in limbo with the Hader addition. The Astros have several key contributors approaching free agency this offseason or next, and with Kyle Tucker likely fetching the most money of all of them, he could be a trade target to watch.
The Astros won't be trading Tucker now or anytime this season, but next offseason, when Tucker enters his final year of team control, the Astros will have a decision to make. Will they spend franchise-changing money by trying to bring Tucker back? Or will they accept defeat and look to get something for him rather than lose him for nothing? If they choose the latter, these three destinations could make a whole lot of sense for Tucker.
3) The Astros will eventually consider trading Kyle Tucker to the Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a team trying to win right now. That's no secret. The Astros know that better than most, as these teams matched up in the 2022 World Series with Houston coming out on top. Tucker had a memorable two home run game in that series.
Houston trading Tucker to a Phillies team they just competed with in the World Series probably wouldn't be their first choice, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind here. The Phillies are a team willing to spend big money on a player of Tucker's caliber, and they have prospects Houston might want next offseason.
While it's unlikely that their top prospect, Andrew Painter, will be available in discussions for a rental, even for a player as good as Tucker, but players like Justin Crawford, Mick Abel, and Aidan Miller could all be of interest for Houston. Right now only Abel is a top-100 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but Crawford and Miller are fast risers and could easily be on that list at this time next season.
By the time the Phillies would have to give big money to Tucker, players like J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber will be off their books, so they should have the funds and the desire to ink something long-term with one of the best outfielders in the game. Their outfield in general with Bryce Harper moving to first base permanently is a bit of a weakness. Tucker obviously would change that.