The Houston Astros added a few veterans to their non-roster invites for this spring that included Steve Cishek, Hector Velasquez and Steven Souza Jr. While Brian McTaggart is predicting Souza to make the 26-man roster, this leaves the Astros in a position of either trading or designating a player for assignment. While being close to Opening Day, a DFA could be in the ballpark of the Astros’ decisions, but it all comes down to the player.
With the injury to Framber Valdez being settled, his likely seat within the organization will be on the injured list until healthy again; giving his 40-man spot to newly signed starting pitcher, Jake Odorizzi. Steve Cishek is also a projected 26-man roster spot holder, while being a non-roster invite. His 40-man spot could be in Forrest Whitley, as the right-hander might need Tommy John Surgery.
Which Astros players are in danger of a being DFA’d for Steven Souza Jr.?
After the hip injury to right-handed pitcher Josh James, it was believed the Astros would free open a spot on the roster, but after progressing well, James is staying on the 40-man until is fully healthy in the coming months. While also having an injured Austin Pruitt expected to make his return this season, these right-handers will be looked to for pitching depth.
It is a tricky situation to evaluate, but when come to it, Souza can be an explosive hitter and is looking to play first base along with the corner outfields. He has had a few dips in his game thus far in spring training, but as one of the non-roster invites projected to make the opening day lineup, someone could be in danger of leaving the Astros.
There are a few names out there that could be on the brink of being traded or DFA’d in the near future, but a name like Garrett Stubbs shouldn’t be one of them. As the third catcher on the 40-man roster, the right-hander has become more versatile in the field, but a lack of at bats has hurt his resume. Korey Lee might be the catcher of the future, but his 40-man time should not be in the talks this season with Stubbs still having minor league options and MLB experience. If the Astros were to DFA Stubbs, there is a good chance he gets claimed and won’t make it to the minor leagues; meaning another prospect would have to move up faster in the case Jason Castro or Martin Maldonado were injured.
The Astros shouldn’t trade pitchers with minor league options, but they’ve done it this offseason, so don’t be shocked by what they do. Pitchers with options are needed, definitely in the bullpen, but this year, the surplus of experienced arms has been deemed more valuable.