Astros release veteran lefty following opt out

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

According to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Astros released Adam Morgan on Sunday, following an opt out 24 hours prior. Saturday was Morgan’s first deadline to opt out of his minor-league deal he signed during spring training, while the Astros did not add him to the 40-man roster.

Morgan pitched in nine games for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, totaling a 8.2 innings of work with a 3.12 ERA. The lefty punched out 10 to his one walk and one hit batter.

With Adam Morgan released, will the Astros add Zac Rosscup to the 40-man roster as a third left-handed reliever?

Zac Rosscup was the first spring training reliever signing. The lefty entered camp with nearly eight years of major-league experience from being a journeyman to an up and down optionable arm over that span.

Rosscup has pitched nine innings this season in Triple-A, seeing his last outing on April 29 in Oklahoma City. In that appearance, Rosscup went 1.2 innings, his longest outing of the season. The lefty sports better raw statistics than Morgan with a 0.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts to seven free bases.

Walks are an issue for the 33-year-old, although having a respectable strikeouts per nine in his major-league career (12.2). But with rosters decreasing to 26 Monday, the Astros are left with a few questions on who heads to Triple-A.

The 40-man roster is at 39, and only two relievers — Blake Taylor and Parker Mushinski — are rostered. Jose Altuve is expected to return, likely pushing J.J. Matijevic back to Sugar Land, but for the pitching staff, two arms will need to be optioned.

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Possibilities are Mushinski, Ronel Blanco and Seth Martinez, leaving a spot for Rosscup to be added with a third corresponding option. If the lefty joined the roster, the Astros piece a veteran into the equation, but with Ryan Pressly expected to return soon, another move would be required to add the closer as Bryan Abreu would be the final option to be sent down.

Since Morgan was released, the chances for Rosscup to be added to the 40-man roster remain slim. His ERA is much better, but walks are hurting the lefty’s résumé, leaving a longer stay in Triple-A more likely.