The Astros announced that they’ve declined their $15MM option on catcher Brian McCann and sent right-hander Jandel Gustave outright to Triple-A after he cleared waivers. Both players will become free agents. Their 40-man roster currently has seven open spots.
McCann, 34, gave the Astros a much-needed quality option behind the plate in 2017 following an offseason trade from the Yankees. But after hitting .241/.323/.436 with 18 home runs in his first season with Houston, his production fell off in 2018. This past season saw the seven-time All-Star and 14-year veteran bat just .212/.301/.339 with seven homers in 216 trips to the dish. McCann spent significant time on the disabled list in ’18 as well, logging more than two months on the shelf due to knee issues that required surgical repair.
Gustave, 26, missed the 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery performed back in late June of 2017. Certainly, the Astros were hoping that he’d be able to return to the club late in the 2018 campaign — hence rostering him all last offseason — but he’ll now hit free agency and have the ability to sign with any team of his choosing. Of course, he could very well opt to re-sign a minor league deal in Houston, which is the only organization he’s known outside of brief spells with the Royals and Padres following his selection in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.
The hard-throwing Gustave has a 3.98 ERA in 20 1/3 big league innings and worked to a 3.79 ERA with a 55-to-23 K/BB ratio as a 23-year-old in his lone Triple-A campaign (2016).