Astros claim pitcher off waivers from AL West rival amid flurry of roster moves

The Astros front office was busy on Friday afternoon.
Texas Rangers pitcher Alex Speas
Texas Rangers pitcher Alex Speas / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Houston Astros are stuck in the AL West basement. One of the perks of being so awful is that you get first crack at waiver claims. The Astros' front office just that on Friday afternoon when they picked up former Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers reliever Alex Speas.

Speas didn't play for the A's this season. Last September, the right-hander was designated for assignment by the Rangers following the promotion of Matt Bush. Speas found a home with the Chicago White Sox during the offseason, but was DFA'd once again after the South Siders signed Robbie Grossman to a minor-league deal.

Speas eventually found his way back to the AL West after he was traded from Chicago to the A's just last month. But after throwing a handful of games at Triple-A Las Vegas, the flamethrower was DFA'd once again and finally picked up by the Astros.

Astros claim Alex Speas off waivers from AL West rival

Speas hasn't appeared in a major league game all season. A former second-round pick of the Rangers back in 2016, the hard-throwing right-hander has 11 minor league appearances this season and owns a 12.08 ERA.

A strikeout artist, Speas is also extremely susceptible to the long ball. Speas has 17 punchouts in 12.2 innings of work, but has also allowed four home runs and nine walks. However, the Astros can't afford to be very choosey given how poorly their bullpen has performed this season.

In order to make room for Speas on the Astros 40-man roster, the team designated Corey Julks for assignment. The former eighth-round pick survived spring cuts, but hasn't done enough in the minor leagues to warrant a call-up to The Show this spring.

Astros activate Grae Kessinger from injured list

In addition to claiming Speas and DFA'ing Julks, the Astros also activated Grae Kessinger from the injured list. Jacob Amaya was optioned back to the minor leagues in order to get Kessinger back on the active roster.

The injury bug has been a constant problem for the Astros this season. Despite getting Kessinger back in the lineup, Houston is still without Chas McCormick, Jose Urquidy, and Christian Javier. Adding Kessinger back into the fold will increase the Astros bench production and give the team better depth.

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