Thursday, March 20, 2014

Astros Spring Training Roster Moves and a Mini-Soapbox

The news came this morning that OF George Springer, RHP Mike Foltynewicz (read this great piece from Evan Drellich re: Folty's four-seamer), OF Delino DeShields, 1B Jon Singleton, SS Carlos Correa (who is thankfully negative for a fracture after being hit in the hand by a pitch last night) and RHP Mark Appel have been re-assigned to minor league camp. 38 players remain in big league camp. They are:

RHP Matt Albers
RHP Anthony Bass
LHP Kevin Chapman
RHP Jarred Cosart
RHP Jesse Crain
LHP Darin Downs
RHP Scott Feldman
RHP Josh Fields
RHP Lucas Harrell
LHP Dallas Keuchel
RHP Peter Moylan
LHP Brett Oberholtzer
RHP Brad Peacock
RHP Chad Qualls
LHP Raul Valdes
RHP Alex White
RHP Jerome Williams
RHP Asher Wojciechowski
RHP Josh Zeid

Jason Castro
Carlos Corporan
Rene Garcia
Carlos Perez

Jose Altuve
Japhet Amador
Chris Carter
Matt Dominguez
Marwin Gonzalez
Jesus Guzman
Cesar Izturis
Marc Kraus (IF/OF)
Gregorio Petit
Jonathan Villar

Adron Chambers
Dexter Fowler
Robbie Grossman
L.J. Hoes
J.D. Martinez

Moving George Springer to minor league camp on the heels of yesterday's post from Ken Rosenthal has a lot of Astros fans wailing and gnashing teeth. While it is frustrating that Springer will not break camp with the Astros, it is not the end of the world.

Before the story came out that the Astros had offered Springer $23 million to lock him up for seven years, most of us assumed that he would not make the team out of Spring Training because of player control issues. That is still the case.

Jim Crane and Company are running a business. He has a fiduciary duty to the ownership group to get the most bang for the buck, particularly with the CSNHouston debacle dragging on and on and on and ....well, you get my point. It was perfectly reasonable for the Astros to make Springer an offer. And it was equally reasonable for Springer to decline that offer.

As Rosenthal himself points out:
The current system, however, discourages budget-conscious teams, in particular, from advancing their best young talent. The Astros, by delaying Springer's arrival, are acting no differently than most clubs do.
Everyone games the system to their best advantage. No one seemed to have a particular problem with the way GM Jeff Luhnow gamed the draft system in 2012 when he passed on presumptive number one overall pick Mark Appel in order to sign Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers and Rio Ruiz and still ended up drafting Appel in 2013.

The system is what the system is. Owners will try to get the best deal at the expense of the players and players will try to get the best deal at the expense of the owners. At the end of the day, I'm personally just thankful that the front office is not looking for quick fixes, but is concentrating on long-term viability.


  1. Amen. Springer making the opening day roster would have meant paying more tomorrow so that the 2014 Astros might could jump from being a 50 win team to a 60 win team, or at the very most a 75 win team from a 65 win team. Plus he would take playing time away from Hoes and Grossman who need to be playing every day so the Astros can see what they've got there. I'm all for it. People who don't understand that don't understand business.

    1. Thanks for your response. Business decisions are rarely black and white and this one is just about as gray as you can get.