Late this evening, the Astros signed veteran OF/1B/DH Jack Cust to a one-year deal. No money has been announced yet but the Astros have the option for a second year. This sounds like a buy low move to fill a possible spot in 2013 as their DH and play some OF this upcoming season. Honestly a puzzling move for the Astros but one that might be a precursor to future transactions. If the money is low and is followed up by another deal, this would begin to make more sense.
Cust had a rough 2011, ending in his release by Seattle. Prior to last season, he put up good offensive numbers with Oakland. He strikes out a ton but has an excellent on base percentage and has shown good homerun power. The Astros would see him as a future option at the DH spot and a possible stop gap at 1st, if necessary. Cust can play OF but is known as one of the worst gloves in the game so he shouldn’t get a much time at either corner spot. That said, he will take up a spot on the 40-man which means someone in the OF or 1st base will need to be dealt or sent to the minors. This could be bad news for Brett Wallace or some of the young guys like J.B. Shuck and Fernando Martinez.
I’ll wait to see how things play out, the signing itself isn’t bad and is cheap. I am not a proponent of signing veterans when a club is rebuilding, especially when other options are available. Curious to see what the next move might be for Luhnow and his staff.