The Astros have announced that outfielder J.D. Martinez has been removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Oklahoma City. In other roster moves, utility man Jake Elmore has been claimed off waivers by the White Sox and the Astros have claimed infielder Ryan Jackson from the Cardinals.
Players are being put on waivers in an attempt to open up roster space prior to today’s deadline. The Astros will need to add players like Domingo Santana and Asher Wojciechowski to the 40-man today in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.
In another move, the Astros have released pitcher John Ely. The right-hander was acquired from the Dodgers last winter but sustained an elbow injury prior to the start of the season. Ely would require Tommy John surgery and never pitched in a regular season game for the Astros.
Houston loses the versatile Elmore off waivers and he is quickly replaced by Jackson — another player that was originally drafted by Jeff Luhnow. I haven’t seen Jackson play (he has appeared in only 20 games with St. Louis over the past two seasons) but his numbers aren’t anything special. It seems like the Astros actually downgraded here. Elmore appears to have better on-base skills and more versatility than the 25-year old from Miami. That’s another thing that scares me… anyone form Miami.
The most surprising move of the day has to be the outrighting of J.D. Martinez. (I know he’s from Miami too, but he didn’t attend PED Univ.) Although J.D. has experienced a dropoff in production in each of the last two seasons, injuries may have been partially to blame. A hand injury cut his 2012 season short and a knee problem in 2013 did the same. Martinez has been working his way back this winter by playing in Venezuela. He has had some success, blasting four homers in his first ten games and batting .293 overall.
The Astros roster currently stands at 34. These are the first of many moves we will be seeing over the next 24 hours or so. Stay tuned for more as it develops.
J.D. Martinez (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)