CHIPALATTA

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Sunday update: Astros face a series of upcoming moves, decisions


Happy Mother’s Day! Shout out to every mom, including my own 80-year-old mom in Natchitoches. I’ve included pictures here, one of her at 19 and the other of she with my 86-year-old dad at the end. A classic photo.

Just thought I’d jump in today with a quick entry to point out some of the upcoming decisions as injuries and other things continue to force a slow shuffle of players. Let’s go to the video tape.

Brett Oberholtzer.

The Astros’ lefty is scheduled to make his debut on Wednesday. This move shouldn’t present a dilemma. Obie slides into the role previously held by Asher Wojciechowski and Sam Deduno. Deduno moves back to the pen as the long relief guy and Wojo heads back to Fresno. Folks, if Oberholtzer doesn’t become serviceable with 2-3 starts, look for trade rumors to dramatically increase. Obie needs to hold the fort.

George Springer.

The natural expectation would be to swap Springer for Preston Tucker. Right? After all, it was Tucker who came up when Springer was hurt. Tucker has not lit the world on fire, but he has certainly not been a Domingo Santana either. In fact far from it, he has shown signs of sticking with more walks (2) than Ks (1) in his first 11 bats. In other words, he’s putting a bat on the ball and doesn’t look overpowered at the plate.

Mom at 19So where will that leave Houston when Springer returns, perhaps as early as this week? Possible options if Tucker sticks:

  • Most likely option: Bye bye Robbie Grossman. Grossman has not established himself in any role, is well down the depth chart (fourth in LF, third in CF). This is not only the most likely option, it out runs the others by a long shot.
  • Next up: Trade Colby Rasmus. What you talkin’ about Willis? Unless the Astros are presented with an incredible opportunity to pick up a pitcher, ain’t happening. Rasmus is on a 30 home run pace and clearly has gas left in the tank. Besides, if Jake Marisnick is injured or slows his hitting pace, Rasmus is the only clear backup there (unless you want Jonathan Villar out there regularly).
  • Chris Carter gone. Later.
  • A pitcher goes to AAA. Sure, it’s a possibility since the team is carrying 13 pitchers, even with closer Luke Gregerson out. But given the fact that Gregerson is out and the unsettled nature of the rotation, not likely. At all.

Chris Carter.

Early on, I coupled Carter with Gattis to call them Cartis because they appeared to be the same player, providing similar, umm, production, abilities and mirroring one another in almost every aspect. Gattis separated himself somewhat. Carter is here because the Astros haven’t had success finding a consistent first baseman. As a side note: Wonder how much Jeff Luhnow wishes he could have anted up a few more million last year for Juan Abreu, who ended up signing with the White Sox.

Carter probably won’t be going anywhere soon. Not necessarily for the production he will provide over the next six weeks, but for the production he could possibly deliver over the summer. I expect the Astros to play a futures game with Carter, as in oil futures. Don’t underestimate the value (whatever it is) that will possibly be a temptation to other GMs, including Luhnow, that Carter can duplicate last summer’s explosion.

While Carter isn’t going anywhere soon, Houston should begin to prepare for the possibility by sliding Gattis into a game or two there.Tucker? Not so much, let him get acclimated to the game in the spot he’s used to…at least for a while.

Shortstop.

Folks, this is a huge problem. Maybe doesn’t look like it, but the Astros didn’t have a Tucker to slide in when Jed Lowrie went down. And, I can’t emphasize enough that Lowrie’s timeline is not certain. He is “out until after the All Star break”. After. By then, the summer will have begun to solidify. Everyone knows that Marwin Gonzalez and Villar are not the answers.

The answer seems obvious to many. If Carlos Correa for President has a nice ring to it, certainly he could handle shortstop at Minute Maid Park, right? Why not. Here’s what I would expect from the Astros. A promotion soon…to Fresno. If all goes well in a short stint and Correa handles the transition, his days in Fresno will be short. Perhaps very short.

A trade for a stop-gap shortstop just doesn’t seem likely. Why waste the prospects on an upgrade for only a couple of months. Think about it: Gonzalez can be a decent gap filler, so a new shortstop (with Correa one flight away and Lowrie due back in a few months) would have to be a much better than Gonzalez. Nope, at this point, the shortstop in June appears to be either Gonzalez or Correa.

With Correa at shortstop, the Astros will face more decisions when Lowrie returns, but those will be made easier with two of the top prospects now in the fold.

I’ll let visions of sugar plus dance in your heads with a lineup that includes Correa and Tucker. Is there any doubt now that 2015 will be that year?

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

21 comments on “Sunday update: Astros face a series of upcoming moves, decisions

  1. Steeeve
    May 10, 2015

    Great article as usual but the best part is the photos. Happy Mothers Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. astrocolt45
    May 10, 2015

    Let me second Steeeve’s comment.

    Like

  3. 1oldpro
    May 10, 2015

    I noticed that Valbuena laid back on the first infield single that Marwin fielded to his right, but could not throw out the runner. I’m pretty sure it was last night but it could have been Friday night.
    After that play they must have had a talk, because since then Valbuena has been super aggressive cutting over in front of the SS and making a play.
    I bring this up because of the mention of the SS position. With Correa at SS this team covers more ground in the infield. Marwin has been good , but we all know what awaits.
    My question is: are you wanting to move Correa from CC to Fresno, get him used to a new place, new league, new teammates, new food, new manager and then ask him to do it again in a month or two in Houston? Why not leave him where he is and let him see all of the Texas League teams and pitchers(who are probably just as good as AAA) and bring him to Houston when the Super Two time is up?
    Let’s face it, the guy is hitting .390 in AA and leads the league in homers and stolen bases. How much more proof do the Astros really need?
    That lefty reliever killed our momentum last night and we really do need another good bat in our lineup. How long can we get away with living on the edge with 13 K.s a night?

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      May 10, 2015

      OP, “here’s what I expect from the Astros”. Not me wanting, but I just expect that the Astros are carefully considering their options. I suspect they’ll hedge their bets and get him to Fresno for a “spot check”. Look, let’s be honest. He’s beyond any minor league manager, he’ll adapt to any place and he’ll get a hand shake with new faces for his cup of coffee. He’s an ususual player and, if he gets that “spot check” in Fresno, it will be in part to give the fans there a chance to tip their cap at perhaps a future Hall of Famer.

      That said, the Astros could just as easily skip Fresno once the 20-11 record begins to swoon somewhat.

      Like

  4. astrocolt45
    May 10, 2015

    Put me down as a favorite of “practical baseball” with Carter. He is on pace for 250 Ks and 28 HRs. So he will strike out 9 times before he gets his clout. So that means in those 250 PAs – no sac flies, no fielder choices, no advance the runner, nothing. To me, that is not a favorable MLB player.

    Like

  5. Tim
    May 10, 2015

    I am not comfortable putting Gattis at 1B. I really wish they had given Tucker some time at 1B during his time at Fresno. Carter has been abysmal offensively, but he has actually been surprisingly decent defensively at 1B this season. Gattis just gives the appearance of a tortoise trying to man 1B. The unfortunate part is that Singleton has not shown he is ready for the big leagues yet and our options at 1B are limited besides MarGo. We may just have to ride it out with Chris and hope he trends back to the norm for him, which is a batting average around .215. This would mean a decent batting average going forward.

    Like

  6. Dan P
    May 10, 2015

    Chip – as you said – classic photos of your mom and both your parents. So is your mom a Steel Magnolia (which was filmed in Natchitoches)??
    I say – bring up Correa in June, see if Obie is as good as Roberto Hernandez (who has been good and unlucky) and wait until Carter warms up to trade him.
    Have to get ready for church…

    Like

  7. rj
    May 10, 2015

    Happy Mother’s Day to your mom Chip and all the other mom’s out there. My mom is 90 and although she now lives in a long term care facility, is doing fine. Love ya mom!

    Many a player has jumped from AA to the majors and i expect if there is a swoon, thats what will happen with Correa. The one caveat to that would be exactly what Chip said and that would be a tip of the hat to the new affiliate in Fresno. Let the fans there see one of the best players to ever come their way, connect more with their new AAA team and feel more a part of the major league team.

    Like

    • rj
      May 10, 2015

      Let me add if there is not a swoon (at least not a major one, cuz ALL teams have swoons) then Correa goes to AAA before Houston. Luhnow has said he will go through AAA and if circumstances don’t dictate a change in plans, he’ll stick with his.

      Like

  8. 1oldpro
    May 10, 2015

    Doesn’t it feel weird that Carlos Perez turns out to be the guy to shut down the Astros running game?
    Didn’t it feel great to see Roberto Hernandez battle into the eighth the other night, against a team that is supposed to be dominating the Astros?
    Didn’t the world start to feel like it was back on it’s axis last night when Keuchel got that inning ending DP in the first?
    I wish Julia Morales could also broadcast on the road.
    What has happened to Allen Craig?
    What is happening to the Athletics?
    Would Brad Mills have called Springer “Georgie”?
    How about Obie coming back and beating the Giants Wednesday. That would be sweet.
    Let’s pretend that Springer’s concussion was a little head slap from Leroy Jethro Gibbs, and he returns to action with a bat on fire!
    Is it just me or do the Astros always seem to be hitting with an 0-2 count?
    Are the Cardinals really this good?

    Like

  9. Chip Bailey
    May 10, 2015

    Everyone, just a quick thought on trading for a pitcher this summer. WIth the ever-increasing number of arm/elbow injuries, there will be a long, long line come July. Which, of course, raises the asking price…significantly. It could be a factor in the Astros’ search and it could mean another stop gap get-me-through-the-season solution rather than a stopper #1 type of pitcher. Just a thought…

    Like

    • zanuda
      May 10, 2015

      Looking at the Farm Stats this morning it looks as if McCuellars is out pacing Appel. Also who is Chris Devenski at CC? http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=606965#/career/R/pitching/2015/ALL. Haven’t heard anything about him.

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        May 10, 2015

        Oh yeah, we’ve discussed periodically. He came over…are you ready for this…as the PTBNL in the Bretty Myers trade. 🙂

        Like

    • rj
      May 10, 2015

      unfortunately Chip i think thats true. i see only two ways around it other than a stop gap guy. 1. promote from within – we have a few that may be about ready by then or 2. pull the trigger early before everyone else is in line. do they have enough confidence in the team that they believe they will be in the playoff hunt come late summer/september to warrant pulling the trigger?

      Like

  10. Kevin
    May 10, 2015

    I got it Carter, Villar, Grossman, Wojo to the A’s for Kazmir, Then Fontana SS and Marwin plays first for now until Lowrie and Correa are in the lineup, Tucker in LF, Ramus wherever needed

    Like

  11. Chip Bailey
    May 10, 2015

    No overhaul, but some tweaks to today’s lineup:

    Like

    • Dan P
      May 10, 2015

      The key guy today to me is the guy who will not be hitting – Scott Feldman – he has frankly been the fourth starter as far as performance goes – after Hernandez who has been very consistent.

      Like

  12. Tim
    May 10, 2015

    Valbuena’s offense, so far, has been a disappointment, but can he flash the leather at 3B. He just made a great pay to save a run.

    Like

  13. Kevin
    May 10, 2015

    Feldman nice play at the plate and Grossman Nice Noodle arm in LF, Geez

    Like

  14. Sandy
    May 10, 2015

    Love the photos Chip

    Like

  15. Dan P
    May 10, 2015

    Is Garrett related to JR?
    Man he was tough to hit today.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2015 by in Astros.
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