Some things to talk about after a crazy flurry of roster moves on Thursday...
1) Houston turns over the roster
Well, the Astros made some room on the 40-man roster on Thursday, totaling 10 moves with eight demotions and two waiver wire pickups. Let's try to cover as many as we can.
Houston picked up a pair of players from Arizona. Right-hander Sam Demel is a local kid from Channelview and the 27-year old has primarily worked as a reliever at Triple-A. Jake Elmore is slightly younger and has more versatility on defense. He has played up the middle in a brief stint with the D'Backs and should provide an Angel Sanchez replacement.
Neither of these moves strike me as guys that will be on the Opening Day roster, but more as players the team likes better than the depth it had at Triple-A. If injuries or ineffectiveness happen next season, we'll probably see these guys then.
Also, so long Jordan Schafer. The erstwhile center fielder was claimed off waivers from Atlanta, because apparently he can only live in either Texas or Georgia. That kind of also signals to me that the Braves don't plan on bringing back Michael Bourn and wanted to add some cheap center field depth.
As for the Astros angle...well, I believe we all saw the writing on the wall with Schafer earlier this season. Yes, Jeff Luhnow did throw around Jacoby Ellsbury possibilities for Schafer before the season. He wasn't anywhere close. His attitude may have also caused problems, and it appeared by the end of the season that Schafer would not be in the team's plays going forward. So much for that Bourn trade, huh?
Chris Snyder is gone, but Chris covered that beautifully a while back. Matt Downs was designated for assignment and then assigned to Oklahoma City. He and Kyle Weiland are the only players who were sent down to be immediately added to OKC's roster. Fernando Abad, Sergio Escalona, Edgar Gonzalez and Jose Valdez are free agents and can sign anywhere.
None of this is surprising, but it's a pretty big refresh of this roster and I have to think this is just the beginning.
2) Time for the big reveal
At long last, we can finally see the new Houston Astros uniforms in all their glory. No more secrecy over the new hats, new logo, new color scheme, new mascot. All will be revealed at a launch party tonight at Minute Maid Park.
Okay, that was fun to type. Thanks to MLB.com twice, Astros.com once, Academy once and Topps once, the Astros essentially don't have anything new to reveal tonight that hasn't already been revealed. I'm interested to see if that impacts attendance at tonight's big party, but am hoping it doesn't.
If you go, feel free to provide updates here, but for now, check out David Barron's excellent article on the Astros uniform changes through history. Here's a great quote from it:
"You’ve not been able to ignore the Astros," said Tom Shieber, senior curator at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. "They’ve had some significant, groundbreaking things."
I think that's been Tim's problem with what has been revealed so far. It's not ground-breaking, it's a return to the past. I'm fine with that. I asked for a return to the navy and orange days way back when Crane first took over and they've done that. When so much of Houston's history is being turned on its ear, going back to an updated look from the past is fitting and comforting.
Unless that piping on the pants is just hideous. I guess we don't know everything yet...
3) Free agent and trade talk
Credit goes to KevinBassStache on Twitter for talking about Mike Napoli coming to Houston before MLB Trade Rumors did. It's an interesting scenario, as Napoli fits many of the things Houston may want out of a DH/backup catcher and could explain why the team wasn't willing to spend $4 million on Snyder, when they can roll that over into Napoli.
It's still unlikely they make that kind of splash, just as it seems highly unlikely they get involved in the Nick Swisher bidding if it gets up into the $100 million range like MLBTR suggests. Are there any free agents on there that seem to be reasonably priced that you want Houston to take a shot at? Still going with Melky Cabrera?
The other big news was the Angels and their decisions on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, who was traded to Kansas City for a reliever with the Royals picking up almost all of Santana's option. Though Santana is 29, doesn't this seem like a move Luhnow could have made?
Going further, should Luhnow try and make a play for Haren? His numbers dropped off last season, but Haren seems to be a solid starting pitching option. How much he'd cost in a trade would be the question. If it cost a Jonathan Villar or Jimmy Paredes, would you do the deal? Or, would you rather leave that rotation spot open for Brett Oberholtzer or Paul Clemens or someone?