On the day that Jordan Lyles attempts to redeem himself after two challenging starts, the Astros now have one less starting pitcher candidate in camp. This morning Jarred Cosart was among four young pitchers that were sent down to the Minor Leagues.
Despite the fact that the expectation was Cosart would start the season in AAA, the timing of the news was a little surprising. However the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. All along the plan was that Cosart would start the season in the minor leagues until there was a reason or a need for him to be promoted. With this knowledge, keeping him in the major league camp any longer could had adversely effected both Cosart and the Astros.
Cosart started off the spring quite well. However, in most cases early in spring, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters. Now that the hitters are catching up to their competition and the starters are starting to see more playing time, Cosart’s performance will be impacted. The perfect example of this was Sunday against the Phillies as Cosart’s ERA rose to 8.22. It is unfair to Cosart to expect him to be lights out as he is trying to work on things and get prepared for the season, but by keeping him in camp, the implication is that he is still competing for a role with the Astros. With that not being the case, then why put him in that situation?
Also the rest of the Astros starting pitchers need to get ready for the season, and to do that, they need to go deeper into the games. With a lot of the roles still in flux, there simply was not enough available innings for Cosart. And with minor league games starting tomorrow, the time was right to send Cosart down. There were no surprises with the other three demotions (Jose Cisnero, Brett Oberholtzer, and Ross Seaton) as all gained valuable major league experience and now can concentrate on getting ready for the 2013 season.
The natural inclination here would be to keep Cosart in camp and to try to rush him to the major league level, but that doesn’t fit in the Astros long term goals. While I’m sure some expected to see Cosart in camp a little bit longer, this is the best move, and in no way a reflection of how Cosart is viewed. He will be in Houston at some point during the 2013 season.