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Astros Roster Moves: Velasquez Down to AA, Fiers to Start Tuesday

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One of the most difficult realities of trade season came after Saturday night’s 9-2 Astros win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced that Vincent Velasquez will be sent down to the AA Corpus Christi Hooks to make room for Mike Fiers, who will start Tuesday at the Rangers.

Velasquez doesn’t deserve a demotion to Corpus Christi, and I am 100% against this move. I say with no hesitation whatsoever that this was the most disappointing move so far this season from Astros management. There are plenty of more deserving candidates for a demotion/DFA on this team.

You could start with Chad Qualls, who has a 0.1 WAR and 4.31 ERA. Whatever Qualls has done for this team, Velasquez can do. In fact, Velasquez could probably do it a lot better. I haven’t ranted a lot about Astros management this season, but I just can’t stand this move.

Why mess with a young prospect’s head by sending him back to AA when he clearly has shown the ability to help out the Astros on the mound? Whether it’s out of the bullpen or starting the game, Velasquez has proven to be a reliable MLB pitcher and has clearly surpassed AA ball. I know the reason for Corpus is the closeness to Houston. The Astros were looking for a plus fastball arm out of the bullpen before the deadline, and Velasquez definitely has a plus fastball. Qualls probably had a plus fastball back in 2000 or before that even.

After reading Hinch’s remarks about Velasquez’s demotion, I’m not sure that he’s very happy with the move. Here’s some of what the Astros skipper had to say:

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Obviously, a manager is going to have his player’s back publicly after a controversial demotion, but I think there was a tone in these remarks that signaled some frustration and anger on Hinch’s part. I would be really angry too if one of my best bullpen arms got yanked when he deserves to stay on the roster. What kind of loyalty and confidence does this show a 23-year-old pitcher who has his whole career left?

This kind of move looked like one that showed a lot of inexperience from Astros management when it comes to making moves to be a contender. If Qualls’ salary is expensive, you eat it and put the best 25 on your roster, no exceptions. This team still doesn’t have a massive payroll, so I don’t want to hear about money as an excuse for that.

Let’s all hope that the Fiers experiment ends up working because if not, this will go down as the worst roster move of the Astros’ 2015 season. It’s fair to say that I’m very disappointed in the latest Astros roster move.

Next: Will Carlos Gomez be the Impact Player Carlos Beltran Was?

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