The past week has taken me to Charlotte, Greensboro and Virginia Beach. Meanwhile, the Astros have also been on a bit of a journey.
And, Jeff Luhnow suggests he’s not done. As this week winds down with two new players in the fold, Luhnow has turned his attention to the bullpen and the Rule 5 draft next week.
Reaction to the Dexter Fowler trade acquisition and the Scott Feldman free agent signing have generally been positive, though it’s clear the Astros have made some early steps to improve the 2014 roster. Perhaps Brian Todd boiled it down best in his comment:
Basically in the last two days we exchanged Barnes and Lyles for Fowler and Feldman (plus that PTBNL). And all it cost us is $17.5 million of Cranes’ money. How this isn’t a win-win, I don’t know.
At this point, even with just the one lineup and rotation additions, here’s what the lineup could look like on opening day, if George Springer carries his torrid 2013 season into spring training. Imagine the amount of drool on Bo Porter‘s chin if Jonathan Singleton also punches his way onto the April roster.
- Dexter Fowler LF.
- Jose Altuve 2B.
- George Springer CF.
- Jason Castro C.
- Chris Carter DH.
- Matt Dominguez 3B.
- Brett Wallace 1B.
- Jonathan Villar SS.
- L.J. Hoes RF.
And, at present, the rotation stacks up thusly:
- Scott Feldman.
- Brett Oberholtzer.
- Brad Peacock.
- Jarred Cosart.
- Lucas Harrell or Paul Clemens or Dallas Keuchel.
The moves and this now-public direction should put several players on notice and possibly on the bubble. Including, but not limited to:
- Brett Wallace. Luhnow has publicly said he was searching for a first baseman/outfielder. With Singleton only needing to show he’s got his swing back, Wallace is obviously on the clock.
- Lucas Harrell. He presently has a job because has can eat innings and is under team control at a relatively cheap price. If the Astros acquire another starter or if Asher Wojciechowski is ready sooner than later, Harrell will be in the same boat as Wallace.
- Chris Carter. Could the player who led the team in HRs and RBI possibly be on the bubble? With a .223 average, it’s a mixed bag, but if the Astros could upgrade and get something in return via trade, they might be tempted.
- Any number of pitchers with less than stellar upside, stats or injury history.