Astros lose key starter to injury and elevate free agent bust in risky roster shuffle

Monday was not a banner day for the Astros, unless you are a truly degenerate gambler and want to bet on Jose Abreu.
Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

The writing had been on the wall for the better of a week for the Houston Astros. The team was adamant about bringing Jose Abreu back from the minors to salvage what is left of that odious contract, and Joey Loperfido hadn't played since May 20th. As unfortunate as their choice was, the decision to send Loperfido back down to the minors was pretty much inevitable.

That very move came on Monday, when Loperfido was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Abreu's triumphant return from his low-minors tutoring sessions. However, their roster move also came with additional bad news, as Cristian Javier's forearm soreness was deemed bad enough to warrant a trip to the injured list.

Astros News: Houston decides to give Abreu another chance while losing Javier to an arm injury

We'll start with Javier, as his situation is more "concrete." for lack of a better term. While the Astros had tried to describe Javier's forearm soreness as a day-to-day sort of thing over the weekend, even the most optimistic guess was that he was going to be down for a bit, as skipping at least his next start was extremely likely. By putting him on the IL now and making the move retroactive, Houston can rotate more pitching help in and out (with Speas getting the nod for now) while they let him rest up and hopefully get back on the mound as soon as he is eligible. Javier -- and Jose Urquidy -- will both undergo further imaging on Tuesday.

The Abreu/Loperfido swap is much more...speculative in assessing. There is no denying that, at his peak, Abreu is one of the best middle of the order bats in baseball. However, he is also 37 years old, is coming off a massive down season in 2023, and was basically unplayable this season before he agreed to get optioned.

In the short-term, it is probably fine to at least see if Abreu can be salvaged. Houston wasn't playing Loperfido at the moment anyways, and sending him back to Triple-A will give him regular plate appearances again. However, if Loperfido keeps raking down in the minor leagues after impressing during his first stint in the majors and Abreu (or Jonathan Singleton or Chas McCormick) continue to struggle, expect the calls to promote Loperfido back to the majors to get very loud very quickly.

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