Could Francis Martes start the year with the Astros?
The Astros pack their bags with the conclusion of the 2016 MLB Winter Meetings. After being very active before the meetings, Jeff Luhnow walks away short a pitching prospect. Wednesday, there was a buzz around baseball that the Astros were in talks for Jose Quintana. However, Luhnow didn’t like the price, according to Jake Kaplan. While we are not sure what the White Sox wanted, I’m sure it was Alex Bregman.
Should Luhnow have taken a cruise instead of traveling to Washington DC for the meetings? No, he went to the meetings with a plan to look for upgrades to the rotation. According to A.J. Hinch, Luhnow checked into any starting pitcher who could be available. Luhnow set a foundation for future deals but thought the costs were too high at the moment.
Last year, during the Rule 5 draft, teams passed on Chris Devenski and Teoscar Hernandez. They went on to help the Astros in 2016, especially Devenski, who had a dominating season with his changeup. This year, the Stros were not as lucky. With the 16th pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Texas Rangers draft RHP Mike Hauschild. They seem to keep stealing our talent when they can and dominate us at the same time.
Jon Daniels says that Hauschild will be a candidate for the fifth starter. He has to remain on the Rangers 25-man roster all season or be offered back to Houston. Last year, Hauschild was 9-10 with a 3.22 ERA with 119 strikeouts in 139 2/3 innings. The pessimistic side of me thinks he goes to the Rangers and becomes great. The logical side says that they won’t carry him all year.
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With a full 40-man roster, it is no surprise that the Astros refrained from adding a rule 5 draftee. Jon Kemmer, Tyler Heineman, and Jordan Jankowski are the notable players left unclaimed. The Astros added catcher Eduardo De Oleo from the Diamondbacks and pitcher Jared Mortenson from the Rays in MiLB Rule 5 draft via McTaggart.
On last night’s Astroline, A.J. Hinch mentioned that Garrett Stubbs and Ramon Laureano would be invited to major league camp this year. Speaking of spring training, McTaggart wrote a quote saying that Francis Martes could be on the big league roster Opening Day. In the quote, Luhnow said the players (Martes) he trying to avoid trading could start with the team.
I could be reading too much into this, but it sounds exciting. If Martes makes the Opening Day roster, the Stros will be officially going for it in 2017. Instead of waiting until the Super 2 deadline, the Astros would be starting Martes’ clock early. Enjoy the ride Astros fans.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***