With Jed Lowrie out of the picture the Astros are looking to fill a big hole at the shortstop position. In-house options include Tyler Greene, Marwin Gonzalez, and Jake Elmore. If you want offense, Greene and Elmore should be at the top of your list. If you feel defense is the preferred commodity at the position, then Gonzalez is your guy.
But might there be a low cost alternative available for the Astros? Earlier today both Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson were designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays. This time last year the Astros were picking up guys like Brignac and Johnson left and right, but that hasn’t been the case so far this offseason. Thanks to their 55-107 record, the Astros own top priority on the waiver wire for the entire offseason. A claim on one or both of the former Rays should be forthcoming.
Brignac and his .227/.268/.317 career slash line in 256 big league games could probably be had for nothing. Formerly a top prospect, Brignac spent most of his age 26 season at AAA Durham last year. No risk – possible reward. Sign him up.
Johnson would be a more likely candidate to be picked up by the Astros. The 28-year old played in 123 games (100 at SS) for the Rays last season, posting a .242/.304/.350 slash line while stealing 18 bases. Johnson had his moments early in the season but faded down the stretch. Still, competition builds character and the Astros should consider bringing him into camp to push the in-house candidates. I’m assuming Jeff Luhnow has already talked to Carlos Pena about his two former teammates.