If you remember your TV Land-lore, this phrase will ring a bell: The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Well, the Astros have certainly changed the names. Who’s being protected may be a different story.
By this time in March, most fans — along with media and other onlookers — probably thought the discussion about rounding out the Astros’ roster would revolve around names like George Springer, Michael Foltynewicz, Jonathan Singleton, Asher Wojciechowski, Chia-Jen Lo or Max Stassi.
Instead, the last round of musical chairs includes Anthony Bass, Raul Valdes, Cesar Izturis, Jesus Guzman and one or two others. All obviously, household names that will likely be in the organization for years to come (sarcasm alert). The final determination will come down to how many pitchers the Astros carry to start the season.
And, that friends, puts spring training into perspective and reiterates Dan Peschong’s boring stamp on the past several weeks.
Bo Porter says many players have already been informed they made the team. Here’s the likely list of those with a guaranteed or near-guaranteed spot:
- Catchers: Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan.
- Infielders: Chris Carter, Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez, Jonathan Villar, Matt Dominguez.
- Outfielders: Marc Krauss, Dexter Fowler, Robbie Grossman.
- Rotation: Scott Feldman, Brett Oberholtzer, Jarred Cosart.
- Bullpen: Matt Albers, Kevin Chapman, Chad Qualls, Raul Valdes, Josh Zeid, Josh Fields.
Still sorting it out:
- Izturis. He has an opt out on Tuesday and the Astros would like to have him on the roster. If the team carries only 12 pitchers, he’s in. If the team doesn’t keep Jesus Guzman or L.J. Hoes, he’s in.
- Lucas Harrell. Out of options and he’s been serviceable. Unlike Brett Wallace or J.D. Martinez, Harrell would be picked up immediately if released. My guess: Bullpen or trade.
- Guzman. Could platoon at 1B with Krauss or be headed to Oklahoma City. Can also play the outfield.
- Jerome Williams. After Sunday’s performance, he could be an odd man out of the mix. Still, with a $2.1 million guaranteed deal, Williams could end up in the bullpen if not the rotation out of the gate.
- Dallas Keuchel. Shouldn’t be on the roster bubble, but still up in the air whether he makes the rotation or joins the bullpen. My guess: Rotation.
- Hoes. With a .188 spring, could he start in Oklahoma City? Since both Krauss and Guzman can play the outfield, it could be an option.
- Brad Peacock. Like Keuchel, he should be on the roster. Only determination is whether as a reliever or starter. My guess: Rotation.
- Anthony Bass. One of Luhnow’s boys acquired in off-season trade, consensus is that he’s on the roster.
So, as I said…whoopty doo. You can enjoy the shuffle if you like, but it’s just not the same as wondering if the Astros will keep Foltynewicz instead of Williams or Singleton instead of Guzman of if Springer will hit third or fifth.
Who makes it? Who doesn’t?