Now it’s time to take a look at the position players who may soon be looking for work outside the city of Houston. Catchers Chris Snyder and Carlos Corporan should both be considered candidates to be non-tendered. Snyder, who batted a paltry .176 in 2012, has a mutual option worth $4 million with a $500,000 buyout. Although he works well with the pitchers and has some pop in his bat, that price tag seems a bit steep for a backup catcher. I would expect the Astros to decline Snyder’s option. Corporan showed improved offensive numbers in 2012 and would be a more cost-effective option to back up Jason Castro. But if roster space is needed, Corporan could be non-tendered as well.
On the infield, both Matt Downs and Scott Moore are at a crossroads. Downs had a tremendous amount of success coming off the bench in 2011 but a serious decline in 2012 could mean his days in Houston are numbered. Moore posted decent statistics with the Astros last season, essentially moving ahead of Downs as the team’s jack-of-all-trades. For that reason, Downs seems more likely to be non-tendered.
The outfield was a glaring weakness for Houston in 2012 and several fly-catchers are on the bubble. The Astros may seek to add a Free Agent, meaning Brian Bogusevic, J.B. Shuck, Brandon Barnes, and Jordan Schafer are all vulnerable. Bogusevic had a lackluster 2012 (.203/.297/.299) and at age 28 seems the most likely to be sent packing.
Shuck spent the entire year at AAA and could be added to the AAA reserve list making it less likely that he is selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Shuck’s chances of being drafted are pretty slim anyway, seeing that he is not what you would call an impact player. Luhnow likes Shuck’s ability to get on base, but the 25-year old has yet to show anything that suggests he will excel in any other area.
Barnes and Schafer produced numbers similar to those of Bogusevic. Schafer still seems to be prone to injury and his off the field troubles are reason for concern. I think Barnes has more upside and his desire to play winter ball and improve his game shows a nice work ethic. If I could only keep one of these guys (and honestly, why would you want to keep more than one?) it would be Barnes.
Much like my previous post discussing the pitchers, these are simply opinions. I’m sure a lot will happen between now and the 40-man roster deadline date of November 20. For example, the Astros just claimed outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin from Boston last night. I have no idea how he fits into the equation because his stats look pretty similar to the guys I’ve already talked about.