Astros face dilemmas in trying to determine which players to protect in December. In many respects the pressure is off, because CBA looms large & most teams have juggling of their own personnel for which to worry.
a.) MLB teams took advantage of UDFA and their rosters are already plentiful, and
b.) the "41st man" is usually a guy who doesn't even stick on the other teams' 40-man.
A Few Overachievers
Astros took back Drew Ferguson when SFG signed Pillar in '20. In '21, Riley Ferrell had a solid 40 IP 6.1 H/9 season, opted for FA just the other day but never debuted (only 3 HR in 38 games ptched!) J.A. Rivera is still hanging around the bottom of MLB's list, still in the Astros system after being returned from LAA. Garza, De Goti, Tanielus are the last of the wretched refuse, the truly also-rans of the roster.
Let's do some projections with the idea that Astros think they may lose a few, but want to retain 3 players. The easy answer might be: PENA, DUBIN, and who is the 3rd? How would that 3rd be in relation to players the Astros want to bring in, and have spots available, like '21 version of Souza, Siri and Cishek?
Lose Prospects or Later Flexibility
An important subject when considering how clogged the 40-man roster got last season. Astros had to have some mighty amazing strokes of luck to be able to retain so many players with protocols, what with given that some 20 players were all in limbo of some kind. Pedro Baez, off covid, on to 60-day IL is just the tip of the logistical nightmare which exists in working around the rules of the league. All working in almost perfect concert to allow other players to come on & off the scene, as needed.
Occupiers of the 40-man with special circumstances all; Nova Solis Whitley Ivey Emanuel.
Current Top 30 ranks vs each other, as they relate to eligible:
GS1: Pena 2, Dubin 8, Joe Perez 13, Yainer Diaz 14, Jon Bermudez 18, JP France 30.
Callis: Pena 4, Perez 9, Dubin 11, Diaz 13, McKenna 17, Manea 18, Rivera 28.
Those in contention are: YAINER DIAZ, JOE PEREZ.
It is the bottom of my list that gives pause that one or more will be taken; Julks EValdez France Hansen Record Hensley DTavares DePaula
The fact that this list is so thin highlights those who were supposed contenders going into 2021; Bellozo, Matijevic, J Lopez, Jimenez, JP Lopez, Donato, Mushinski, Conine, McKenna were all on the precipice of making it happen.