As the Astros prepare for a World Series title defense, they are at least weighing the possibility of adding a significant rotation piece, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). Per the report, the club has “shown interest” in top free agents Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Possible trade targets such as Chris Archer could also be considered.

At this stage, it seems, that interest is mostly exploratory in nature. That’s not to diminish the importance of the report, though: the involvement of the ’Stros at the top of the rotation market could certainly have a significant bearing on how things shake out.

Though Houston’s payroll has continued to climb northward in recent years, the team’s successes have perhaps freed up some additional financial flexibility. Rosenthal also notes that the organization could find a taker for Collin McHugh — who’s projected to earn $4.8MM by MLBTR — should they make a big strike in the rotation.