Final Grade: A-
While the Astros didn’t make any big free-agent acquisitions or trade for a big-name starter, the front office did lots of good things to improve the team for 2016 and the future. Re-signing their best two free agents in Sipp and Rasmus were good moves, and the addition of Doug Fister to bolster to rotation on a relatively low-risk deal will provide veteran leadership as well as some (hopefully) quality starts.
The players that the Astros parted with this offseason were relatively inconsequential, and the return that they saw for some of them is pretty solid. Picking up a long-term guy like Sneed as well as a high-minors reliever like McCurry for the price of a couple backup infielders is a great move to give the pitching staff some depth for the future.
Finally, the Ken Giles trade was a net positive for the Astros for multiple reasons. First, the addition of Giles to team with five years of club control is going to give the Astros a reliable closer for years to come. Additionally, the team didn’t give up much talent from its deep farm system. When the deal was reported, it was speculated by some that the main piece of the deal was going to be the team’s #6/#9 (Baseball Prospectus/Baseball America) prospect Derek Fisher. Instead, that piece ended up being Appel, a development that had many on the Houston side very happy with the deal. Now, the Astros farm system remains loaded, featuring guys like A.J. Reed, Alex Bregman, Daz Cameron, Kyle Tucker, and Francis Martes, among others.