Astros: Cishek most likely to snag the last spot on the roster
While we are starting to sound like a broken record, the Houston Astros have battled pitchers’ injuries over the past two seasons. This spring hasn’t been any better, as a few players’ progression were halted due to health and safety protocols, but as the luxury tax has been a reoccurring issue, Steve Cishek could be the final pitcher added to the Opening Day roster.
Although the 40-man roster has been full for sometime now, it all comes down to opinion of talent and the player most likely to be moved for Cishek. Framber Valdez has been out with a finger injury, and while making good strides, we don’t have a timetable on his return.
How could Cishek make the Astros’ roster?
The Astros will most likely wait it out until they fully know where their players could fall into the lineup, but with only a week left of spring training, large groups of cuts are soon to come. Cishek might be a non-roster invite, but his veteran arm could be needed to round out the bullpen for this season.
Although battling an issue with going over the luxury tax threshold, adding Cishek’s contract would put the team in a spot to be penalized. This issue is dealt with at the end of the season, so the organization has the chance to contract dump at the trade deadline, but they will most likely not have the space to make any acquisitions in a postseason push.
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Forrest Whitley will be most likely out 12-14 months due to his Tommy John surgery, but moving him to the 60-day injured list would start his major league service clock. The team isn’t in an easy spot to make the move for Cishek, but if Valdez and Whitley stay on the roster, then a DFA or a trade would be in the near future.
Cishek has been given a full spring, while making seven appearances. The right-hander hasn’t surrendered a run since his first outing when he gave up three home runs in a row, while working on his changeup. Since then, he has fanned 12 batters and could be effective for the Astros’ bullpen, but also with Baez’s return, the team will have to factor in two moves to add them both. They would most likely move Valdez, if there is a true timetable on his finger injury.
If the team decides to go the traditional route of eight relievers along with five starters, the pitching staff would make up half of the roster. The fifth starter is still up in the air until Jake Odorizzi is ready, but the bullpen could look different to start with Pedro Baez not being ready and Andre Scrubb nursing shoulder inflammation. Cishek could fill Baez’s spot at 34-years-old, while Scrubb will most likely be in the bullpen on Opening Day if healthy.