According to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have optioned Derek Fisher, Myles Straw, and Cionel Perez to minor league camp.
The decision to option Perez is the first surprise among all the cuts this Spring, as he was still considered by some writers, including Jake Kaplan of the Athletic as late as yesterday, to be a front-runner for the lefty reliever role. With his departure the competition seems to come down Reymin Guduan and Framber Valdez. Valdez is also seen as competing for the fifth starter role, and if he wins that slot, the Astros may not carry a left-handed reliever to open the season. If his competitor, Brad Peacock wins fifth starter, Valdez may join Perez in the minors, as questions about Valdez’ control make him ill-suited for a relief role.
Reymin Guduan must be happy, and for now that last spot in the bullpen is his to lose. But with similar questions as Valdez about control, Guduan needs to continue to show the improvement in this area that he has shown thus far in Spring Training if he wants to keep the upper hand.
Don’t count out Cionel Perez. He turns just 23 in about a month and is definitely in the picture as the future of left-handed pitching in the Astros organization, even this year. The Astros will probably expand from 12 to 13 pitchers in May. Expect to see Perez back after that, at least some time this year.
A number of highly successful and even surprising Spring Training participants not on the 40-man roster were reassigned, including Yordan Alvarez, Jack Mayfield, Abraham Toro, Nick Tanielu, and pitchers Kent Emmanuel and Brenden McCurry.