The Astros' off-day days become the new norm for roster moves around Houston these days. But, wouldn't be the case today. the Astros sent a message by optioning Jonathan Villar to Triple-A Oklahoma City and designating Jerome Williams for assignment soon after Monday's 10-4 loss to the Mariners.
The Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich and MLB.com's Brain McTaggert broke the news.
Villar optioned.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 1, 2014
Astros will make a corresponding move tomorrow.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 1, 2014
Jerome Williams is packing his things. Was called into office. Nothing has been announced.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 1, 2014
Jerome Williams has been DFA'd— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 1, 2014
Jonathan Villar has been the every day starter since making his first major league start on July 22 last season. He finished 2013 with a .243 (61-210) batting average, 12 extra-base hits, and 18 stolen bases. His batting prowess was average, he showed a fluidness at shortstop that hadn't been seen in Houston since Adam Everett. The one problem was Villar's focus, he at many times seemed lackadaisical with his mechanics resulting 16 fielding errors. That put Villar in the top five for errors by a shortstops will only playing a third of the games.
Villar beat out Marwin Gonzalez, Gregorio Petit, and Cesar Izturis in Spring Training easily to take the opining day start as short stop. In the month of April he would show flashes of an extra power tool, tripling his home run output for 2013 in just one month. Villar appeared to mature in the field as put up web gem after web gem. But, his batting average and play in the field took a noise dive in May and June. He batted just .156 in the month of May, and was currently batting .200 in June. Villar collected 12 errors this season already, second most in the American League. The final straw was written all over Bo Porter's face in a picture and picture shot during the Astros broadcast, as Villar failed to recored the final out of the game on a routine ground ball during the Tigers series.
Jerome Williams singed a $2.1 million, one year contract with the Astros this offseason. The 32-year old veteran came to the Astros from the Angels, where he was a long man and spot starter. With Los Angeles in 2013, he had 9-10 record with a. 4.57 ERA. This season with the Astros he has been used more as a high leverage reliever, and the position didn't seem to suit him. His 2014 line read as such - 1-4, 6.04 ERA, 47.2 IP, 59 H, 32 ER, 7 HR, 16 BB, 38 K. He gave up at least one earned run in 16 of 26 appearance this season and seven of his last 10 - this includes an appearance where he walked the only batter he faced and was removed.
Jerome Williams was brought in to be a veteran leader in the Astros' tremulous bullpen. But, he wouldn't set an example of the field to follow.
The question now becomes, who will replace Villar and Williams on the 25-man roster? The reliever question appears to answered already -
So it appears Bass will be activated tomorrow to replace Williams.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 1, 2014
Anthony Bass was spotted in the Astros clubhouse. Bass has been on the disabled list since May 11 with a right intercostal strain.
The next question is who will be the replacement infielder? We can expect more of Marwin Gonzalez, but who else? Gregorio Petit? Kike Hernandez? Jiovanni Mier? We will find out in the morning.