October was a very exciting month to be a Houston Astros fan. Between the Wild Card Game and a rollercoaster series vs. the World Champions, we all were overcome with emotions. It was difficult to watch the Royals take home the trophy Sunday night, but that time has passed.
Now, it’s November, and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow must move on to create the 2016 Houston Astros. For those of you who are unaware of the MLB Offseason Timeline, I’ll at least give you a quick layout of what will happen in November. Don’t worry if you have no experience with this timeline, I didn’t become familiar with how the MLB offseason works until last year.
November Offseason Schedule
- 4th: Most Contract Options Decisions are Due. (Examples: Alex Gordon and his $12.5 million player option, R.A Dickey. and his $12 million club option, Jose Bautista, and his $14 million club option.
- 9th-12th: General Manager Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. A few signings will probably occur, along with a lot of preliminary trade discussions.
- 20th: Deadline for organizations to assemble their 40-Man Rosters before the Rule 5 Draft.
Yesterday, Chad Qualls was shown the door when the Astros announced that the club would not be picking up his contract option for 2016. Many people close to the organization saw this as an inevitable move, considering the progress of the organization as a whole. It is unfortunate, however, since Qualls was a loyal player when this team was still at the bottom of the league.
With the deadline to set a 40-Man Roster only 16 days away, this move should set off a string of other transactions by the Astros to get some star prospects on that 40-Man Roster. I believe that the next man to leave Houston will be Dan Straily.
Why Straily Should Be Weeded Out
After joining the Astros organization this past January in the Dexter Fowler trade, Straily never really lived up to his expected value. In the beginning, I thought that he would have more value in the majors, but it just did not pan out for him. The Astros had some young arms develop faster than expected, and they simply passed him up.
Straily only appeared in four MLB games last year and posted a 5.40 ERA, -0.1 WAR and 1.44 WHIP in 16.2 innings pitched. Although he wasn’t able to deliver many quality innings in his appearances, what scares me even more about Straily’s chances to make the 2016 Astros club is that he only joined Houston for four games out of 162.
With an organization on the rise and in need of bullpen help, there simply is no longer a place for Straily in Houston. I still believe he has the potential to be a solid pitcher for some other team and will find a home that’s a better situation for him.
Why Straily Should Remain an Astro
While I strongly believe that Straily will be let go by the Astros, it’s always good to look at the alternative. The only potential argument that I could come up with for keeping Straily is that he was part of a Jeff Luhnow trade, and Luhnow might not be willing to part with him.
Luhnow has shown to be very loyal to the players he acquired in trades, including Chris Carter, Max Stassi, and Brad Peacock. As I mentioned earlier, Straily was acquired with Luis Valbuena in a deal that sent Dexter Fowler to the Chicago Cubs.
If Luhnow really wants to hang on to Straily, I believe he’ll offer him a minor league contract and still remove him from the 40-man roster. We’ll see what happens, but Straily will have to clear waivers to be taken off the 40-man roster.
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Who Will Take Straily’s Place on the 40-Man Roster
I believe that Luhnow would replace a pitcher on the 40-man with another pitcher. Although he’s not yet eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, I think Mark Appel will be the guy. It’s time to see what Appel can do in the majors.
He’ll have a whole offseason and Spring Training to prepare himself for MLB ball and get over his fairly consistent minor league struggles. If he lives up to the expectations, the Astros will have a formidable starting rotation in 2016. I don’t think Scott Kazmir will be back in a Houston uniform, so there’s a void to fill there as well.
All in all, Appel making his splash into the MLB to start the 2016 season will bring even more hype to what is already a much-anticipated Astros season. Sadly, Dan Straily will be the loss in this move. But hey, just because we call them weeds doesn’t mean someone else won’t see them as flowers.