Astros: Critical time of the off-season

This is a critical time in the off-season for the Astros relative to personnel. The following deadlines occur or have already occurred that drive decisions by the front office.

  • By November 2, teams had to decide whether to offer their own free agents a qualifying offer, a contract for one year at $17.9 million. In the whole of the majors, only seven players were offered Q.O.’s including Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel, the only Astro offered a Q.O. had 10 days to accept the one-year contract or opt to go into free agency and he opted to become a free agent. The Astros will get a compensatory pick when he signs with another team.
  • By this coming Tuesday, November 20, the Astros must finalize their 40-man roster heading into the Rule 5 draft. Players who have been with the organization a certain amount of time (between four and five years depending on their age when drafted) can be picked by other organizations if they are not on the 40-man roster, but they have to be kept on the major league roster for a whole season. So they will add or subtract minor leaguers by Tuesday based on whether they think they risk losing them.
  • By November 30, the teams need to tender arbitration offers to players they wish to keep who are eligible for arbitration. Those who are non-tendered are free agents.

So, the first question is where are the Astros vs. the 40-man roster. Per the Astros web site, the following players are currently on the 40-man roster.

  1. Gerrit Cole. Arb eligible
  2. Dean Deetz.
  3. Chris Devenski. Arb eligible
  4. Reymin Guduan.
  5. Will Harris. Arb eligible
  6. Josh James.
  7. Francis Martes.
  8. Lance McCullers Jr. Arb eligible
  9. Collin McHugh. Arb eligible
  10. Roberto Osuna. Arb eligible
  11. Brad Peacock. Arb eligible
  12. Cionel Perez.
  13. Ryan Pressly. Arb eligible
  14. Brady Rodgers.
  15. Hector Rondon.
  16. Joe Smith.
  17. Framber Valdez.
  18. Justin Verlander.
  19. Chris Hermann. Arb eligible
  20. Max Stassi.
  21. Jose Altuve.
  22. Alex Bregman.
  23. Carlos Correa. Arb eligible
  24. J.D. Davis.
  25. Yuli Gurriel.
  26. A.J. Reed.
  27. Tyler White.
  28. Derek Fisher.
  29. Tony Kemp.
  30. Jake Marisnick. Arb eligible
  31. Josh Reddick.
  32. George Springer.
  33. Myles Straw.
  34. Kyle Tucker.

This means that the Astros could theoretically add six minor league players to the 40-man roster without making any other move. However, this would not take into account any players added by trade or free agency. On the other side there could be more spots available (eventually) if the Astros are not going to tender all the arbitration-eligible players or if they want to part ways with any of the folks on the roster who may be just taking up space.

Likely actions:

  • It is likely the Astros will add four players or so from their minor league rosters – see the following link to “what the heck bobby” for those eligible to be poached from the minors
  • Based on their inclusion on the Arizona Fall league rosters, it would seem that Drew Ferguson, Trent Thornton and Erasmo Pinales would be moved on to the 40-man roster. Due to lack of catchers on the 40-man, Garrett Stubbs should be automatic. If they go beyond adding four, it would seem some of their high-end pitching might be next, such as Cy Sneed, Rogelio Armenteros or Brock Dykxhoorn.
  • If the Astros are looking to move anyone off the 40-man roster by trade or by exposing them to being picked up by others, Brady Rodgers (same age as Cole and Devenski) would seem to be the most at risk.
  • Of the players who might not be offered arbitration, Jake Marisnick, Will Harris and Chris Hermann would seem to be at risk. With what they saw of Myles Straw in a short call-up, Mr. Marisnick would seem to be the most likely to be by-passed.
  • And of course….if the Astros sign FAs or make trades in the early going this could certainly change the dynamics of their decisions.

So, if the Astros add four from their minors, let a Rodgers and a Marisnick go, they will head into the hotter part of the Hot Stove League with four spots open on the 40-man. If they want to add more than four players from outside they will have to expose someone to the Rule 5 draft or possible waiver pickup at a later date or include 40 man player or players in a trade.

What do you think they will do in the next couple days and weeks?


Astros 2015-2018: The “Core Four”

Our good buddy on the blog Old Pro came up with a challenge for this writer to discuss what he called the “Core Four”: The four players the Astros would build around after the 2015 season through the 2018 season.

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2018 Astros: Questions heading forward

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Astros Playoffs 2018: Mission difficult, not impossible

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Astros 2018: The playoff weeks in review and preview

The week of 10-8 through 10-14 in review
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Head to head playoffs: Astros vs. Red Sox

The Astros finally get to play in prime time, now that THE CURRENT WORLD CHAMPIONS have moved past the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, and that brings to mind in a demented way a famous line from a movie. It is the end of Billy Wilder’s brilliant send-up of Hollywood, “Sunset Boulevard” and Gloria Swanson (who once was a great silent star and the mistress of Joseph Kennedy – JFK’s father – but I digress) playing Norma Desmond, a long time ago great silent star and recent murderer, comes sweeping down the stairs and says “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

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