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Tuesday's Three Astros Things

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Talking about Robbie Grossman's demotion, Brad Peacock's promotion and returning injured players...

Some things to talk about while BuzzFeed talks about the cognitive dissonance between our site and the Astros' terribleness...

1) Robbie Grossman heading down

Sad day, y'all. TCB mascot Robbie Grossman is headed to Oklahoma City, optioned down to make room for Brad Peacock to rejoin the big league team. Here's the note from Brian T. Smith:

The struggling 23-year-old center fielder was optioned back to Class AAA Oklahoma City following the Astros3-2 12-inning win over the Rockies at Minute Maid Park. While starting pitcher Bud Norris spoke with the media and teammates buzzed about Brandon Barnes’ walk-off double, a clearly shaken Grossman was left to clean out his locker for a return to the minor leagues.

"I’ll just go down there and keep playing hard," said Grossman, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts Monday to lower his average to .198 with 31 strikeouts and a .553 OPS in 28 games (111 at-bats).

Smith talks about a conclusion I had reached this weekend. Grossman's evaluation may just be at a point where he might be served with a trip to the minors. Houston knows what Grossman provides right now. He's got a good eye, so his walk rate and on-base percentage will be decent. But, as Smith notes, Grossman looks overmatched too often against big league pitching to make consistent contact, thus making him a liability.

Add in a growing sense that Grossman isn't the long-term answer in center field and the Astros may have just finished their evaluation of him for now. He's got some things to work on in OKC before he can come up again.

This also doesn't mean he's done as a prospect. The Cardinals just sent down top prospect Carlos Martinez after he was called up due to an injury situation, while Dee Gordon and Dustin Ackley also got sent down. Development doesn't happen in a straight line, and it had become time for Grossman to get some developmental growth in Triple-A.

Give us a few days and we'll open applications for the new site mascot. Besides Jose Altuve, that is.

2) Houston carrying 13 pitchers?

We're trying something this week (when we actually write Three Things entries) in linking all three things thematically.

I know, right? How literary of me.

At any rate, the Grossman news prompts another discussion. Why bring up Brad Peacock? With Josh Fields set to return from the DL soon and Justin Maxwell about to get better, why send an outfielder down for another pitcher?

Tim, my muse, came up with the elegantly simple reason: Coors Field. Houston is approaching the meat grinder of a stadium this week, before going on to face a four-game set against the Angels, who have finally morphed into the dangerous offensive unit we imagined in the offseason.

Remember that double-header in Colorado last year that ate the Astros entire pitching staff? You can bet Jeff Luhnow didn't. Hence the Peacock move.

Now, Houston has another long reliever to use in those two games, who can also be sent back down once Fields is ready to come off the DL. It makes a lot of sense, especially since Houston went through relievers pretty heavily this weekend and on Monday in the extra-inning win against Colorado.

Since opening the season in the starting rotation, Peacock has gone 1-2 in four starts for Oklahoma City. In 21 innings, the right-hander has a strikeout rate of 11.2 and a walk rate of 3.74, improvements on his former major league stint. His ERA was still high at 4.98, but he should be a serviceable arm for a few days.

3) What do to when injured players return?

And our third, what does happen when JMax and Fields come back?

Obviously, I think that Peacock gets the kibosh once Fields is ready. That makes sense, as it keeps Peacock in the minors starting games while also letting Houston evaluate Fields in the big league bullpen.

With Justin Maxwell, though, the question becomes slightly more complicated. Houston is attempting to evaluate all three outfield positions. They had done that for Grossman, weighing and measuring him and finding him wanting. Have they done that with Jimmy Paredes and J.D. Martinez yet? Will they attempt the same thing with Trevor Crowe now?

Maxwell seems to be about two weeks away, thanks to a throwaway line in Smith's article on Grossman's demotion. That gives this current outfield about that long before evaluation checks come back. Who will prove wanting then?