Astros roster update: Brian McCann, Jandel Gustave now free agents

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KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 16: Brian McCann #16 of the Houston Astros celebrates scoring during a three run home run hit by Alex Bregman #2 against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 16: Brian McCann #16 of the Houston Astros celebrates scoring during a three run home run hit by Alex Bregman #2 against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /
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Roster moves this early in the offseason are usually of little surprise.

While the city of Houston was experiencing some wild weather on Halloween, the Astros made a pair of moves that brings the 40-man roster total down to 33 players. Sure, not as wild as the thunderstorms in town Wednesday afternoon, but baseball transactions in late October and early November rarely are.

Both moves from the Astros are not all that surprising. For one, Brian McCann‘s club option was for $15 million with no buyout. Even though he was one of the final pieces acquired for the 2017 championship team, McCann spent the majority of the 2018 season recovering from injuries as he visited the DL twice before having right knee meniscus surgery during the summer. He would eventually return before the postseason.

The veteran catcher appeared in only 63 games this season and finished with a .212/.301/.339 slash line with seven home runs. McCann was also rated as one of the worst pitch framers in baseball last season per Baseball Prospectus. Unfortunately, injuries were a clear factor in his decline. Plus, the Astros are likely to revamp the catcher position during the offseason. Combine all of these factors, and it is easy to see why Houston made the decision. It became clear as the 2018 season wore on that McCann’s time with the club had probably come to a close. Hopefully another team comes along and gives McCann a chance to continue his all-around terrific career.

The news about Jandel Gustave was a bit unexpected, but not a complete surprise. The age-26 right-hander had Tommy John surgery in June 2017 before having ulnar nerve transposition surgery earlier this year, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. His last pitching appearance in the Astros’ organization was April 18, 2017 against the Angels. For a pitcher who could throw a fastball in the upper-nineties consistently before his Tommy John surgery, Wednesday’s development was a disappointing one. Let’s hope he lands somewhere that allows him time and opportunity to return a major league roster at some point.

Next. Dates to remember as the Astros’ offseason unfolds. dark

With the offseason starting to pick up steam, the Astros had to clear some room on the 40-man roster. Keep in mind that the 40-man rosters need to be set by November 20th in anticipation for the Rule V draft.

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