The Astros are obviously not where they will be in a few months personnel-wise. But at least for the short term, the choice to only non-tender Aaron Sanchez gave the fans a glimpse at what the team may be thinking heading toward 2020. One of the differences for 2020 will be a 26 man roster during the regular season, which will likely be filled by an additional bench hand. This is fortunate, because right now the Astros are struggling to fill in the pitching spots they normally would require for the season.
So, assuming the Astros do a 13/13 split between position players and pitchers (I guess pitcher is not considered a position) what would that look like? (For fun – check out the current Astros depth chart from mlb.com)http://houston.astros.mlb.com/team/depth_chart/index.jsp?c_id=hou
Infield (5). This is very straight forward. Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel with Aledmys Diaz as the main backup. Whether Abraham Toro gets a shot may well depend on whether they think that Alvarez is the 5th OF.
Catchers (2). This space for rent….. Right now Dustin Garneau, who they just picked up and Garrett Stubbs are the top two (also the only two) on the 40 man roster. One of them may be on the big club to start the season, but both starting the year with the big club is not a likely scenario.
DH (1). Yordan Alvarez – yes they will get him to play some OF, but at least to start the season he will be the main DH and deservedly so.
OFs (5). Michael Brantley, George Springer, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick and ……a fifth guy (Kyle Tucker? Myles Straw?). This could be the one group that changes the most or is untouched. What if Reddick and/or Marisnick get moved? Straw and Tucker move up or one of these other prospects comes up the ladder (like Chas McCormick). How much does Alvarez get used in this mix?
SP (5). Right now the MLB depth chart shows the Astro starters as Justin Verlander (Yup), Zack Greinke (Good so far), Lance McCullers (better have an injury replacement ready), Jose Urquidy (Give the young man a chance) and Framber Valdez (huh?). 6th and 7th are Rogelio Armenteros and Francis Martes. That is what losing Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, Wade Miley, and Aaron Sanchez does to your rotation. So, yes we know they have to add here somehow.
RP (8). The top 8 in the depth chart are shown as Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Chris Devenski, Joe Biagini, Josh James, Brad Peacock, Cionel Perez and Cy Sneed. Obviously, whoever does not fill the 5th starting spot has a shot here along with anyone they may sign along the way. I keep thinking they will see if Will Harris wants to come back for some redemption.
Now the challenge as old pro pointed out in a recent comment is that the Astros currently have the highest payroll and highest luxury tax payroll in the majors without adding a starting pitcher, a bullpen piece or one or two catchers. That is why it feels like someone(s) will get moved off here for $$ reasons at least.
The questions for you…
- Who do you think will not make it to spring training of the folks above?
- Who do you think might be a surprise trade token?
- What positions will they fill with either free agents or through trade?
- Any youngsters you want to come up and fill a spot or spots economically?
- Would you do a 13/13 split with the new 26 man roster or some other split?