Astros: Alex Bregman Is Still in the Plans After Gurriel Signing

Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; USA infielder Alex Bregman hits a double in the third inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; USA infielder Alex Bregman hits a double in the third inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Don’t worry Astros fans; Alex Bregman is not going anywhere!

The Houston Astros acquired an impact level bat for not only the 2016 playoff run, but also for the next four seasons. They signed 32-year-old Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel yesterday making the news official with a noon press conference today. I wrote about some of the impact from his signing yesterday, but let’s look what has come out since.

One of the biggest thing that Astros fans started talking about was where does Alex Bregman fit in the Astros present and future with Gurriel’s signing? If Luis Valbuena moves to first so Gurriel can play third base, where does Bregman play? Also, would Bregman now be the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade for an ace for the rotation?

While I never thought that the Astros would let Bregman out of their organization, I still felt relieved when Jon Morosi Tweeted the following. “After Gurriel signing, will Astros consider trading Bregman for a starter? I asked someone who would know. The answer was a flat no.” Not saying that Bregman will be the next Mike Trout or Bryce Harper type of player, but he is a professional hitter who appears ready and will help the team win.

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Just putting it out there, don’t look for Bregman to be traded. However, the infield is crowded now with Gurriel and Bregman projected to join the team at some point this season. They both could play third base, but the Astros will have to decide who gets the job. Luckily, they both are athletic enough to play third base or in the outfield.

As I wrote in the Gurriel piece, he had a plus arm and did play center field back in 2005. Luhnow said that when they worked Gurriel out in Florida, they worked him out in the outfield as well as the infield. Via Brian T. Smith, “Luhnow said he has a plus-arm and is an excellent athlete.”

It appears that Gurriel could be open to playing anywhere, so maybe the Astros let the young stud play third base. Luhnow has been very vocal about trying not to have players have to learn the pitching at the next level at the same time that they are learning how to play a new position. The fact that Gurriel is more experienced could help Bregman take over third base because of his experience with the Cuban team.

There has been talk about the possibility of Bregman being moved to the outfield, especially if another third base player emerged. Gurriel could be the guy that ends up pushing him to the outfield. Something else that we have to consider is that Evan Gattis and A.J. Reed are not crushing the ball at the moment, so one of them could be the designated hitter. Colby Rasmus could get pushed out as well, so maybe he could get some starts as the designated hitter.

Peter Gammons even Tweeted out that “Bregman says he is ready for left field. He can play anywhere.” Jon Heyman still thinks that we will see Bregman really soon. Richard Justice added his own little humor to the situation as he Tweeted out the following, “Do Astros have room for both Gurriel and Bregman? Child, please. They’re 30th in OPS in CF, 28th at 1B, 24th at DH, 23rd at 3B, 12th in LF.” Speaking of Justice, he is almost giddy with excitement about how good this Astros team can be. 

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The Astros are stockpiling bats for the playoff run, and they will decide where to play them later. People tell you to draft/add the best player, not necessarily based on a position of need. I anticipate that Bregman could be up by August 1st and Gurriel shortly after that. Gurriel needs to get a work visa, report to extended spring training, and then get some at-bats at Corpus Christi. Who plays third base could come down to whoever gets here first.

Next: Astros Sign MLB Ready Cuban Infielder Yulieski Gurriel!

Whatever decision that is made this year doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed in the future. Let’s say they start Gurriel at third base and Bregman in the outfield, they could switch roles this offseason. For the rest of this season, it could come down to the player that they think could play better in the outfield with little preparation. Buckle your seatbelts, and this is going to be a fun ride.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***