NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 23: Michael Brantley #23 of the Houston Astros in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 23, 2022 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Astros 7-6. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

These three notable Houston Astros free agents will not be back with the team in 2023.

The Houston Astros have managed to keep many of its core players together over the years. However, in several instances, they did part ways.

Notably, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Gerrit Cole have all eventually left in free agency. Who will follow the path?

It’s these three Astros free agents we can already count out of the mix to return in 2023.

1) Astros will let Michael Brantley walk in free agency

A season-ending injury to Michael Brantley ended action for the Astros outfielder in 2022. Injuries have been an issue for him. Once an underrated star in the game, he has now become an afterthought for one of the game’s best teams.

Brantley was never a star for the Astros but did give them a terrific season in 2019. He showed off career-high power with 22 home runs while slashing .311/.372/.503. The Astros couldn’t have expected much more than what he gave them then and even in the following three seasons. The only blip on his reputation is how much time he missed: 46 out of 60 games in 2020, 121 out of 162 in 2021, and 64 out of 162 in 2022.

Brantley is on the other side of 35 and probably nothing more than a DH option moving forward. That’s if he chooses to continue playing. With the injuries, it’s not outrageous to believe he hangs up his cleats after this season.

An ideal role for Brantley might be to sign somewhere and join up in a platoon. Occasional starts in the outfield should be possible. The better job for him, however, would be one half of a DH team. The Astros are better off with Yordan Alvarez in that role moving forward. Brantley can play somewhere next year if he wants to. It just won’t be with Houston. A return to Cleveland on a one-year deal might make some sense.

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