The new manager search may be the latest headache for Jeff Luhnow, but the roster puzzle may be his biggest this winter. It could be akin to trying to stuff 40 marbles into a 10 oz Mason jar.
Even as the roster stands today, there are 44 players that will need to squeeze into the 40-man roster when you count the four on the 60-day disabled list. When rosters are set after the World Series, up to another dozen players in the Astros’ system may need to be considered for addition or be subject to the Rule 5 draft at the December winter meetings.
Here’s a quick rundown of the roster situation. Of course, trades, non-tenders and outright releases will change the “game” over the next couple of months.
Some players, like Jesus Guzman, Anthony Bass, Jake Buchanan or Rudy Owens may be easy options to leave off the 40-man, but it’s clear that — under the current scenario and without some adjustments — the Astros would have to leave some attractive players unprotected.
One other observation: The challenge with protecting players is another reason that only players already on the 40-man roster will be promoted in the coming days. That leaves players like Joe Sclafani, Preston Tucker or even Collin Moran out of the September mix.
Late Monday, the Astros got a head start on the roster shuffle. Jorge De Leon and Nick Tropeano will be added to the 40-man roster, meaning the Astros will need to make two moves by game time Tuesday. Jonathan Villar and Max Stassi, already on the big roster, will be re-joining the team as well. Only Tropeano hasn’t spent time in Houston previously.
Salary commitments in 2015.
- Scott Feldman $10 million.
- Chad Qualls $3 million.
- Jose Altuve $2.69 million.
- Jon Singleton $2 million.
- Matt Albers $3 million ($200,000 buyout).
Arbitration (projected $).
- Dexter Fowler (Year 4) $11 million.
- Jason Castro (Year 3). $5 million.
- Chris Carter (Year 1). $3 million.
- Tony Sipp (Year 3) $1.5 million.
- Alex Presley (Year 1).
- Jesus Guzman (Year 1).
- Carlos Corporan (Year 1).
- Anthony Bass (Year 1).
- Marwin Gonzalez (Year 1).
- Alex White (Year 1).
Players who will need to be protected on the 40-man.
- Vincent Velasquez.
- Nick Tropeano.
- Michael Feliz.
- Jandel Gustave.
- Roberto Pena.
- Delino Deshields Jr.
- Danry Vasquez.
- Ronald Torreyes.
Obviously, there 20-25 players who will be no-brainers and another 8-10 may be relatively easy selections. It’s the final 5-6 spots on the roster that will be gut-wrenching risks for Luhnow and his saber-metric team.
As a result, more moves like the Jarred Cosart trade may be on the horizon. In all the discussion about who won the Cosart trade, the 3-for-1 40-man roster trade-off was lost. And no one will remember that five years from now when looking back on the trade, even if it means that it opened up spots for two others.
So, which of you will take the challenge to fill out the complete 40-man roster? Which of the arb-eligible players will get a spot? Of the short list above (there are more), which players should be added to the 40-man roster or exposed to the December draft?