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Where do the Houston Astros go from here?

How will Houston continue its franchise makeover in 2016?

Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Astros were eliminated from the 2015 postseason Wednesday after a 7-2 loss to Johnny Cueto and the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the ALDS. After taking down the Yankees in the Wild Card game, Houston held a 2-1 lead in the series before dropping the final two games to the Royals.

Houston was likely ahead of schedule in their rebuild process, so most of their key contributors are on the younger and cheaper end of the scale. However, they did add some veterans at the trade deadline that could make this offseason an interesting one:

Where they stand: 2016 Astros payroll obligations

Having been in a major rebuild for the last several years, the Astros do not have many hefty payroll obligations in 2016. In fact, the highest payroll figure for 2016 among players on their roster is the $9 million owed to outfielder Carlos Gomez, who joined the team from Milwaukee at the trade deadline. They also owe $8 million to pitcher Scott Feldman and $7.5 million to infielder Jed Lowrie in 2016. Among the players that could earn a sizeable paycheck in arbitration are third baseman Luis Valbuena, first baseman Chris Carter and catcher Jason Castro. Ace Dallas Keuchel will also be entering arbitration for the first time in his career.

Pending free agents

There are really only two pending free agents of note for the Astros, southpaw Scott Kazmir and outfielder Colby Rasmus. Houston also has three left-handed relievers entering free agency in Tony Sipp, Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher.

Prospect depth

Despite several notable graduations from their farm system in 2015, including shortstop Carlos Correa and pitchers Vincent Velazquez and Lance McCullers and trades that sent away outfielders Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips, the Astros maintain a strong farm system headed into 2016. Among the prospects most likely to make an impact for Houston next season is right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, who had a 4.48 ERA in 12 starts at Triple-A Fresno this season.

Most of Houston's other top prospects are farther from the big leagues, but third baseman Colin Moran could make an appearance in Houston after hitting .306/.381/.459 at Double-A Corpus Christi this year.

Where do the Astros go from here?

The Astros will look to stay the course going into 2016, which will be Correa's first full season in the majors. After a surprise appearance in the postseason in 2015, Houston will likely look to revamp the bullpen, but keep the rest of the team mainly intact, allowing their younger players to gain more experience as they make another playoff push next season.