Latest worrisome Astros rotation injury could restart Blake Snell rumors

The timing of the Astros' interest in Blake Snell could turn out to be prophetic with the latest injury news.

Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Four
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Four / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The Houston Astros have had some truly crummy luck when it comes to injuries this spring. Jose Abreu being banged up isn't exactly earth-shattering news, but the Astros' pitching staff has been hurt significantly with Justin Verlander, JP France, and Forrest Whitley all dealing with varied maladies down at spring training.

Given their existing issues, the last thing the Astros needed was a late spring training injury in their rotation. Unfortunately, it appears that that is exactly what happened with Jose Urquidy and it could renew calls for general manager Dana Brown to try and nab Blake Snell before he decides to sign elsewhere.

Jose Urquidy's injury puts the Astros' rotation plans in doubt

One important caveat in all of this is that we don't know the severity of Urquidy's elbow injury. He could have just felt something off and just wanted to be cautious given that it was just a spring training start. However, that he pulled himself from the game and that he was huddled with the training staff is definitely not a great sign.

Oddly enough, this dovetails nicely with another recent Astros development. Apparently, Houston was already still involved in the starting pitcher free agent market before Urquidy's injury with Astros beat writer Chandler Rome suggesting that Blake Snell could actually be an option for Houston. With Urquidy's arm acting up, whatever sense of urgency the Astros' front office had probably just increased by a whole lot.

The one sticking point here is that adding Snell would represent a big financial investment and push the Astros into uncharted payroll territory under owner Jim Crane. However, Rome's report for The Athletic reminded everyone that Crane is a big fan of Snell and the allure of adding the reigning NL Cy Young winner to an Astros roster in need of more high quality pitching may be too much for him to resist.

The safer bet may be to give Spencer Arrighetti or another upper levels pitching prospect a shot if Urquidy is forced to miss some time. That would cost significantly less than signing Snell and give Houston a chance to see what their internal options can do. However, it does seem like the Astros may have bigger dreams than that and could have one last big offseason splash to make.

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