Where Go the Astros

For the third straight year the Astros appear to be heading towards the worst record in baseball.  This will give them the very first pick in the draft for the third year in a row.  The Nationals were able to snag Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg with their two years of futility.  The Astros selected Carlos Correa and Mark Appel with their selections.  It is still early to make an assessment whether these two players will make the same impact for the Astros as Harper and Strasburg have made for the Nationals.

Myworld watched all of the home spring training games for the Astros.  We got to see a lot of players win jobs on the major league team.  Many of those players are no longer on their roster, traded for younger players in their continued effort to build for the future.  Where have those players on the 40 man roster when spring training concluded go and who did the Astros get for them?

In February the Astros had sent Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to the Athletics for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock and Max Stassi.  While Lowrie has done an excellent job playing shortstop for the Athletics, Carter led the Astros in homeruns and Peacock found himself in the starting rotation.  Stassi was called up in September.  To make up for having no shortstop ready for the major leagues the Astros signed Ronny Cedeno in late March after they realized Tyler Greene was not going to make it at shortstop.

The Astros released Tyler Greene and decided not to keep Rule V pick Nate Freiman.  The latter may turn out to be a mistake as Freiman was claimed by the Athletics and became a nice right handed bat to hit against left handed pitching.  Greene was signed by the White Sox, again designated for assignment and released by the White Sox and signed with the Braves.

April

The Astros traded again with the Athletics to pick up Travis Blackley to add to their porous pitching rotation, giving up outfielder Jake Goebbert.  Blackley would not last long with the team.  To accommodate Blackley on the roster the Astros had to designate Edgar Gonzalez for assignment and he was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Astros would again resign Gonzalez in May after the Blue Jays released him. 

The Astos also designated Xavier Cedeno for assignment to make room on their roster for the promotion of Brandon Laird.  Cedeno would be claimed by the Washington Nationals where he has turned into a good lefthander out of the bullpen.

May

To accommodate continued additions to the 40 man roster as younger players were promoted to the major league team the Astros designated outfielders Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez off the 40 man roster.  Ankiel was released and Martinez was assigned to the Astros AAA team Oklahoma City Redhawks.  In June the Astros would trade Martinez to the Yankees for Charles Basford.

Philip Humber, who had pitched a no hitter for the White Sox the previous year and then couldn’t get anyone out after that was designated for assignment when he had trouble getting hitters out for the Astros when inserted into the starting rotation (7.86 ERA).  He was also sent to AAA.

June

The Astros designated Ross Seaton for assignment after they promoted outfielder Marc Krausse.  Ross would later be assigned to their AA Corpus Christi team.

July

The Astros designated shortstop Ronny Cedeno and first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment, giving the jobs to youngsters Jonathan Villar and Brett Wallace.  Both Cedeno and Pena would be released.

The Astros also traded their closer Jose Veras to the Tigers for outfielder Danry Vasquez.  Vazquez would be slotted as the Astros 16th top prospect by MLB.com.  A player to be named later was David Paulino.

The Astros would also tire of the injuries to Justin Maxwell, trading him to the Royals for Kyle Smith.  Kyle would be slotted as the 13th best prospect for the Astros according to mlb.com.  Brandon Barnes would take over the centerfield job.

Bud Norris would be traded to the Orioles for outfielder L.J. Hoes and lefthanded pitcher Josh Hader.  Hoes would be inserted into the starting left field slot for the Astros while Hader would be listed as the Astros 11th ranked prospect by mlb.com.

August

Travis Blackley did not work out and was designated for assignment.  He was sent to the Astros AAA team the Oklahoma City Redhawks.  They would a couple days later trade Travis to the Rangers for a player to be named later or cash. 

The Astros lost Wesley Wright off waivers to the Tampa Bay Rays.              

In an interesting transaction the Astros traded with the Diablos Rojas de Mexico of the Mexican League for rotund power hitting first baseman Japhet Amador and outfielder Leonardo Heras.  Amador was hitting .368 with 36 homeruns and a league leading 121 RBIs.  He could fill a spot at DH or play first base.  He stands 6′4″ 315 pounds but will only be 27 years old next year.  Heras is more of a prospect at 23 years of age.  He hit .310 with a .917 OPS.

September

Hector Ambriz was designated for assignment and later sent to AAA Oklahoma City.  Edgar Gonzalez was outrighted to AA Corpus Christi.  Arm injuries had put him on the 60 day disabled list.

So in all the moves they lost a few players that other teams found useful, but they also acquired three players that are considered good prospects that could influence the future of the Astros.  George Springer should be the first of their top ten prospects to arrive upon the major league scene in 2014 but Jonathan Singleton could also win the first base job out of spring training.  The future is bright for the Astros while the present may be bleak.    

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