Next week is the deadline for 40-man roster changes. These changes are made, of course, in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft in December. The Astros farm system has several players that are worthy of being protected. Unfortunately for some players currently on the 40-man roster, cuts will be made.
Earlier this offseason the Astros made some preliminary moves.
- Jesus Guzman, Jose Cisnero and Rudy Owens were outrighted to AAA Fresno
- Jose Veras, Jesse Crain, and Matt Albers all became free agents
- The Oakland Athletics claimed Jorge De Leon off of waivers
Those were all departures from the 40-man roster. Nick Tropeano and Carlos Perez (who had just been added to the 40-man) were exchanged for catcher Hank Conger. The Astros also added a promising reliever, Will Harris, who has had some struggles thus far in his career.
In the next week I expect there to be some difficult decisions made by Jeff Luhnow and company in the “nerd cave.” But as a fan who wants the best for the Houston Astros, it is easy for me to list the following as further departures from the 40-man roster (in no particular order)
Not all of these guys even truly qualify for being removed from the 40-man roster. Most of them all have remaining options.
Truth be told, Bass was left at the top of that list for a reason. He’s eligible for arbitration this season due to his Super-Two status. But with an ERA north of 6.00 and a FIP that wasn’t favorable, it is easy to throw Bass back into the water. (Ok, horrible pun)
With the outfield situation seemingly resolved with Jake Marisnick, George Springer and Dexter Fowler, LJ Hoes becomes expendable. The Astros will have Robbie Grossman begin the season as a 4th outfielder. There’s also a wild card candidate in Alex Presley. He should be a 5th outfielder but he could lose a 40-man roster spot if the club decides that is the right decision to make.
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I love Downs and think his season ended roughly due to some problems with his midsection. It’s incredibly hard to pitch in the major leagues. Let alone pitching when you are hurting every time you deliver a pitch. Krauss is clearly expendable as well. It has been proven that he cannot hit at the major league level.
Chapman had an up-and-down season. He began the year with the big league club only to be optioned to AAA, where he thrived. He came back and stayed with the team, albeit with a sky-high walk rate and a FIP that was slightly higher than his 4.63 ERA for the season. Deduno was a late August waiver claim who did well in a small sample. But he is 31 years old. There are definitely prospects that will occupy a 40-man roster spot longer than Deduno would.
Earlier this offseason I published that Dominguez should be let go. While Luhnow has gone on the record saying that Villar and Dominguez would both be given opportunities to re-establish their value with the club, neither should do so with a 40-man roster spot in spring training.
I am certain that not all of these players will lose their roster spot. In early August, Baseball America covered the issue that is at play here. The Astros have a ton of players in the system who have served long enough to be placed on the 40-man roster. Some may be left unprotected and purchased by other teams for a very low price. Michael Feliz, Jandal Gustave, David Rollins, Thomas Shirley, Roberto Pena, and Vincent Velasquez are a few players who the Astros should consider adding to the 40-man roster. Both of these lists are purely my speculation — the players that I would cut ties with in hopes that this year’s protected crop continue to perform well in the future.