First things first: excellent work by Snake Diggity for putting together this excellent piece on Rule-5 eligible players in the Astros farm system from before the season. I'm going to use his list, along with some personal judgment, to try and piece together our trade strategy this deadline, and what our 25-man roster might look like next season.
The current (as of July 10, 2013) 40-man roster (as per Astros.com):
*A special note to be made about Alex White. He's on the 60-day DL, and I imagine he'll stay that for until after the Rule 5 draft, therefore he's protected and not part of this conversation--yet.
And now, a list of potential players to be added to this list (thank you again, Snake Diggity for the comprehensive list):
|Asher Wojciechowski||Carlos Perez|
|Tanner Bushue||Rene Garcia|
|Bobby Doran||Max Stassi|
|Matt Heiedenreich||Jobduan Morales|
|David Martinez||Ryan McCurdy|
|Jake Buchanan||Jon Singleton|
|Andrew Robinson||Bobby Borchering|
|Carlos Quevedo||Erik Castro|
|Josh Zeid||Telvin Nash|
|Jason Stoffel||Rafael Valenzuela|
|Ruben Alaniz||Jose Martinez|
|Jorge DeLeon||Enrique Hernandez|
|Cameron Lamb||Brandon Wikoff|
|Wes Musick||Andy Simunic|
|Alex Sogard||Jio Mier|
|Sergio Escalona||Jon Meyer|
|Eric Berger||Domingo Santana|
|Colton Cain||Michael Burgess|
|Kevin Chapman||Austin Wates|
Now is where the fun begins. This is the point where projection, speculation, and a bit of strategy come in to play. In order to maximize the active roster, the 40-man roster, and lessen the impact of potential loss, these are the moves that I see happening. What I have done is put a line through any names that, in my eyes, will not be on the 40-man roster starting next season.
I eliminated 13 players from the current 40-man roster. I think at some point Norris, Veras, Bedard, and Pena will be traded for assets before the trading deadline. I think Wright is a possible trade candidate, but I find it more likely he's traded during the offseason. The hot topic cut is Brandon Barnes. I realize there are some who passionately defend what he brings to this team, but the bottom line is: Barnes' ceiling is a defensive replacement outfielder. The fact that he starts on a regular basis for the Astros is more a symbol of how bad they are versus how good he is. Because of this, I think he's expendable for the sake of protecting a player who has a chance at being more than just a defensive replacement.
With 13 players exiting the 40-man, that leaves a total of 14 roster slots. Here is my shot at figuring out who goes where, and what their role will be in 2014:
- Asher Wojciechowski- Rotation candidate
- Jake Buchanan- Long Relief Candidate
- Jason Stoffel- replaces Veras after trade
- Kevin Chapman- replaces Wright on 40-man, stays in AAA
- Jonathan Singleton- Duh.
- Domingo Santana- Starts in AAA, possible late-season call up
- Jio Mier- starts season in AAA
- Two of the three of: Carlos Perez/Max Stassi/Rene Garcia.... my money is on Stassi being the odd-man out for the time being, but I predict a future trade of catcher prospect for lottery ticket low level pitching
- Austin Wates- becomes the leading candidate for late-game defensive replacement OF
- Jon Meyer- starts season in AAA
- Ruben Alaniz- starts season in AAA, could possibly be our next Jose Cisnero.
That's a total of 12 additions to the 40-man roster. What that leaves room for (if everything goes accordingly) is a spot for George Springer, and any other surprising move that could possibly be made due to a trade/signing/etc. Just a thought going towards the trade deadline. Anyone you'd like to see protected/not protected after a half-season under players' belts?