Colin Moran impressed the Astros in Spring Training, but it may not enough to make the team.
The corner infielder hit .389 in 36 at-bats this spring for the Astros. While main infielders Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve were busy at the World Baseball Classic. He finally showed some of the potential that got him traded to the Astros in 2014. The depth in the infield is not something that the Astros lack.
Therefore, he was sent to minor league camp on March 21. In my mind, there are three options left for Moran. Trade him, continue to use him as depth, or develop him at a different position.
One viable option for the Astros would be to trade Moran while his value is high after a great spring. Whether it is an early-season move or one at the trade deadline, involving him in a trade for an area of need could greatly help the Astros this year. The chances of Moran helping the team this year or even for the foreseeable future are very low. So limiting his career while getting no value out of him would benefit no one.
Another option for the Astros would be to continue to use him as depth. Injuries and statistical production fall off happen. Having Moran on the 40-man roster and ready to help at any time can be good for the Astros. Moran is valuable as he can play throughout the infield and is really starting to develop his bat.
While the team does not benefit too much from him playing in Triple-A every day, should an injury happen he can potentially help the Astros. He can also help if a couple of the main options at first base, Yulieski Gurriel, A.J. Reed, Tyler White, and Marwin Gonzalez do not perform to expectations. Moran was working on his first base skills near the end of last season.
Finally, Moran can work on a new position to increase his chances of playing with the Astros. His main positions, third base, and shortstop have players there that will be with the team for a long time. If Moran can move to an outfield spot, most likely left field, maybe he can contribute to the team sooner than later should the Jake Marisnick and Nori Aoki platoon not work. His continued development of first base can also definitely help him for the future.
Moran is honestly in a tough situation with a team that is competing and has one of the best infields in the MLB. The best of the options presented might be to let him play on another team and trade him. If the team can package him in a deal for pitching depth or even an ace, both Moran and the Astros can benefit from his talents.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**