Alyson Footer just broke the news that the Astros have made another round of cuts. This round includes releasing veterans Jack Cust and Zach Duke. Both were signed to minor league contracts with an invite to Spring Training.
Jack Cust, who just a few years ago with the Oakland A’s, was smashing home runs, failed to hit during Spring Training. At one point he was in an 0-24 stretch and never seemed to find his niche. Duke meanwhile was hammered in his last outing with the Astros and really didn’t do much to separate himself from other pitchers during Spring Training. His release this early comes as a surprise to me as with the recent season ending Tommy John surgery for Sergio Escalona, I thought Duke would get more time in the bullpen as a possible lefty specialist. That did not come to fruition as both were released today. Duke’s exit will strengthen the chances of both Jordan Lyles and Kyle Weiland landing rotation spots. The following comment from Astros GM, Jeff Luhnow, comes as a breath of fresh air:
“It’s exactly what you hope for. You want to have contingency plans, you want to have the veterans around that you know you can rely on if you need them, but with a club like ours where you want the young guys to develop, you hope that they develop and earn themselves a spot and fortunately we had guys step up.”