When has a perceived (or very, very real) problem ever derailed the Houston Astros, at least since 2015? It's hard to argue anything has affected the Astros over that eight-year span, which has resulted in two World Series titles, four WS appearances, an ALCS berth every year since 2017, and only one postseason absence (2016).
The New York Yankees know this very well. The Astros faced the behemoth Dodgers in 2017 and won. Then they were exposed in wake of MLB's findings of its investigation into Houston's electronic sign-stealing schemes. That resulted in both general manager and manager dismissals in addition to being subject to the court of public opinion.
The baseball world at large wanted harsher penalties, but commissioner Rob Manfred insisted the World Series trophy is "just a hunk of metal" as Alex Bregman smirked while delivering his public apology, which was crafted on a piece of crumbled-up construction paper.
Either way, the Astros quickly became the universal heel of MLB. Yankees fans know what that's like! It's not the easiest to deal with such incessant criticism on a daily basis. And it didn't get easier. Cy Young runner up Gerrit Cole departed after the 2019 campaign. Justin Verlander missed all of 2020 and 2021 due to Tommy John surgery. Houston lost 2017 WS MVP George Springer to free agency after the 2020 season. Then Carlos Correa followed after 2021. And those are just the highlights.
The Astros' dominance didn't waver, though. They won the World Series last year by subbing in Jeremy Peña for Correa and finding gems like Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez to supplement the pitching staff. So, no, it really doesn't matter if the organization is having difficulty signing both Valdez and star slugger Kyle Tucker to contract extensions.
Yankees News: Astros having tough time extending Tucker, Valdez
Also ... does it even matter? First of all, Tucker and Valdez are under club control through 2025! Three more years of this is staring the entire AL dead in the eyes. These guys were driving forces in the Astros' 2022 run.
And even if they were to depart after the 2025 season, is anybody going to bet against the Astros effectively replacing both players when the time comes? The Astros, who have now undergone three front office regime changes since the start of the 2020 season, are still held in high regard among the league's executives. It's actually frightening how they dominated a recent survey conducted by MLB.com.
In the Astros' pipeline, which hasn't been ranked favorably in quite some time but always seems to deliver, they have Hunter Brown (P), Drew Gilbert (OF), Colin Barber (OF), Jacob Melton (OF), Ryan Clifford (OF), Jayden Murray (P), Jaime Melendez (P) and Alex Santos II (P) making their way up.
Regardless of how they might look right now, we'll move our chips to the middle of the table in favor of Tucker and Valdez being replaced by two of those guys in three years. We've just seen it happen far too many times already to support the contrary.