Will the Astros’ final 40-man spot go to a lefty reliever?
The Pedro Báez saga came to end Wednesday night with the release of his contract from the Houston Astros, following one day on waivers. It came as a surprise to no one, as his designation for assignment was in the queue for many.
With the 40-man roster now at 39 players, the Astros have room to add another arm from Triple-A, but as they wait on the progressions of top-prospect pitcher Hunter Brown, their next move could be for a veteran.
Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday Adam Morgan’s first opt out date of his minor-league contract is Saturday. Rome replied to a comment, mentioning Morgan does have other opt out dates. If Morgan exercises his option, the Astros have 24 hours to add him to the 40-man roster or release him.
Without minor-league options left, a move to the 40-man would mean Morgan can’t leave the 26-man roster. Parker Mushinski — recently promoted — and Blake Taylor house the lefty options in relief, but the Astros could take a spin on a veteran.
Will Adam Morgan be added to the Astros’ 40-man roster by Saturday?
In nine appearances in Triple-A, Morgan is sporting 3.12 ERA over 8.2 innings of work. The lefty has earned three of his five runs on a hit-by-pitch, a walk and eight hits — one home run —, but what looks best for the lefty are his 10 strikeouts.
Mushinski only has 3.1 major-league innings under his belt with four strikeouts, while Taylor’s motive of action isn’t to punch out hitters, its to induce ground outs and fly outs. Morgan hasn’t always been a high-strikeout pitcher, but in recent seasons, the lefty is neighboring 10.0 per nine innings.
Morgan brings a veteran arm for left-handed use to a bullpen manager Dusty Baker wants two of. Last season, the Astros leaned on Brooks Raley for that production with Taylor spending much of the season on the shelf.
Velocity has dropped over the years, but if Morgan’s peripherals are pleasing the Astros, then he could be taking the last 40-man roster spot this weekend. In the end, it pushes Mushinski to Triple-A with Ronel Blanco when rosters decrease May 2.