Houston Astros – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-26T03:29:40Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Corbin Martin May Have Serious Elbow Injury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=164108 2019-06-26T02:19:19Z 2019-06-26T02:18:30Z Astros right-hander Corbin Martin is dealing with “a potentially serious elbow injury,” Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes. Martin suffered the injury during a start for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday. MLB.com’s 48th-ranked prospect, Martin made his major league debut earlier this season when the Astros were looking for a fifth starter, though he wasn’t able to lay claim to the spot. The 23-year-old made five starts and posted a 5.59 ERA with 8.84 K/9 and 5.59 BB/9 in 19 1/3 innings before the Astros optioned him back to the minors.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros To Activate George Springer, Collin McHugh]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=164021 2019-06-25T16:07:14Z 2019-06-25T16:07:14Z The Astros are set to activate outfielder George Springer and right-hander Collin McHugh from the injured list, per the team’s transactions log at MLB.com. Lefty Reymin Guduan and righty Rogelio Armenteros will be optioned to Triple-A to open spots on the active roster.

Springer will return to the ’Stros after missing exactly one month due to a hamstring injury. While Springer’s absence surely wasn’t the sole factor — Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa had IL stints overlap with Springer’s time on the IL — Houston posted a 14-12 record while he was sidelined. That’s a far cry from the 35-18 pace to which they’d played prior to his injury, but the club still holds a comfortable six-game lead over the surprising Rangers in the American League West. With Springer’s return, the team’s lineup is near full strength, as well; Altuve was reinstated last week, leaving Correa as the lone injured regular.

The 29-year-old Springer was in the midst of his finest offensive campaign at the time of his injury. Despite tallying just 216 plate appearances on the season, his 17 home runs are just five shy of last year’s season-long total. Springer’s walk rate, average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel rate have all soared in 2019, and the resulting .308/.389/.643 batting line checks in at about 70 percent better than the league-average hitter (per OPS+ and wRC+).

It was a different story for the 32-year-old McHugh, who struggled tremendously in his return to the Houston rotation in 2019. Through eight starts, McHugh was tagged for 30 runs in 41 innings — albeit with 10 of them coming in one road meltdown against the Rangers. Still, the Houston organization apparently deemed McHugh better suited for a relief role, as the Astros moved him to the bullpen in early May.

There’s no indication that McHugh will be returning to the Astros’ rotation now that he’s returned from a minor elbow issue. Framber Valdez has turned in a pair of strong outings (against weak Blue Jays and Orioles lineups) and one ugly one (at Yankee Stadium) since assuming the fifth spot in the rotation. It’s certainly possible that McHugh will eventually get another look, but he was also dominant in a multi-inning relief role last season (1.99 ERA, 11.7 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 in 72 1/3 innings). Which role McHugh occupies will be of particular interest, as he’s set to become a free agent for the first time this winter and his role could well impact his offseason earning power.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Marlins Return Riley Ferrell To Astros]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163898 2019-06-24T16:04:10Z 2019-06-24T15:37:43Z 11:02am: MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets that the Astros have assigned Ferrell to Double-A Corpus Christi.

10:37am: Right-hander Riley Ferrell has cleared outright waivers and been returned to the Astros, tweets Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Ferrell, whom the Marlins selected out of the Houston organization in last December’s Rule 5 Draft, was placed on waivers by Miami late last week. He is not required to be placed on the 40-man roster now that he’s back with his original organization.

Ferrell, 25, pitched reasonably well for the Marlins in Spring Training, yielding a pair of runs on five hits and five walks with 10 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. While the walks were obviously unwelcome, Ferrell did look to have a chance to crack the big league roster. Instead, a case of biceps tendinitis landed him on the injured list and has prevented him from pitching in the Majors at all in 2019.

Ferrell did start a rehab assignment in mid May but had that assignment halted after just four appearances. He rebooted his rehab efforts on June 12 and tossed 4 2/3 shutout innings (no hits, one walk, two strikeouts) before the Marlins cut bait. Ferrell averaged nearly 12 punchouts per nine innings in a combined 51 1/3 frames with the Astros’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2018 but also logged an ugly 5.9 BB/9 mark in the process. Through a total of 10 1/3 rehab innings in 2019, he issued six walks and hit a batter.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Collin McHugh, Joe Smith]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163737 2019-06-23T04:55:20Z 2019-06-23T04:01:07Z
  • The Astros could activate righty Collin McHugh from the injured list Tuesday, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. McHugh has been out since May 21 with right elbow discomfort. On the other hand, rehabbing reliever Joe Smith won’t return until after the All-Star break, manager A.J. Hinch said. Smith’s still on the mend from the left Achilles surgery he underwent last December.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Marlins Place Rule 5 Pick Riley Ferrell On Outright Waivers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163532 2019-06-21T16:31:52Z 2019-06-21T16:31:52Z The Marlins have placed Rule 5 pick Riley Ferrell on outright waivers, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (via Twitter). Other organizations will have a chance to claim him; otherwise, he’ll be offered back to the Astros.

    Ferrell seemed on track to crack the Marlins’ roster out of camp, but the former third-round pick ended up being forced to the injured list to open the season. He was shifted to the 60-day IL, so was not occupying a 40-man roster spot, but would have needed one upon his activation.

    Despite some stops and starts in his rehab work, Ferrell has thrown 10 1/3 innings of 0.87 ERA ball over seven appearances. He allowed just three base hits, but also managed only eight strikeouts against six walks. Evidently, the Marlins weren’t sufficiently impressed to give Ferrell his first MLB opportunity.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros Activate Jose Altuve; George Springer Nearing Rehab Stint]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163194 2019-06-19T14:06:14Z 2019-06-19T14:06:45Z TODAY: As expected, Altuve is now active and in the ’Stros lineup. Southpaw Cionel Perez was optioned out to make way.

    YESTERDAY: Already in possession of a 48-25 record and an 8 1/2-game lead in the AL West, key reinforcements are on the way for the Astros. Second baseman Jose Altuve is set to return from the injured list Wednesday, while outfielder George Springer will embark on a rehab assignment Thursday at the Double-A level, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle was among those to report (Twitter links).

    Altuve last played May 10, when he went to the IL with a left hamstring strain. The Astros then sent Altuve on a rehab stint, but he suffered a late-May setback in his right leg – on which he underwent surgery last offseason – which caused the team to shut him down. Adding to Houston’s problems, Altuve’s immediate replacement, Aledmys Diaz, hasn’t played since May 26 on account of his own left hamstring strain.

    The injuries to Altuve and Diaz have left the Astros’ second base position to Tony Kemp and Jack Mayfield. Kemp has logged playable production this season, but Mayfield has struggled. Neither player has come close to approaching Altuve’s numbers. Even though this has been a down season for Altuve, a six-time All-Star and former AL MVP, he has still batted .243/.329/.472 (117 wRC+) with nine home runs in 164 plate appearances.

    No Astro has been more effective on a per-PA basis this season than Springer, who slashed .308/.389/.643 (172 wRC+) with 17 HRs in 216 tries before a left hamstring strain took him down May 25. Springer divided his season between center and right field before then. For the most part, Jake Marisnick and Josh Reddick have handled those positions in Springer’s absence, though both players’ numbers have dropped since hot starts.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros Add Felipe Paulino On Minors Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163135 2019-06-18T02:46:14Z 2019-06-18T02:46:14Z The Astros have purchased right-hander Felipe Paulino’s contract from the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, per Mark Berman of Fox 26. Paulino will report to Triple-A Round Rock.

    Now 35 years old, Paulino began his professional career with the Astros, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He eventually worked his way to Houston, where he made 47 appearances (31 starts) from 2007-10.

    Paulino’s also a former Royal, Rockie and White Sox, though he hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2014. He owns a 5.48 ERA/4.84 FIP with 8.32 K/9, 3.83 BB/9 and a 43.8 percent groundball rate in 403 2/3 MLB innings.

    Paulino has recorded somewhat similar numbers in Triple-A, having posted a 5.26 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 across 191 2/3 frames. But he hasn’t taken the mound at that level with a major league organization since a 13-inning run with the Indians’ top affiliate in 2016. Along with his time in the Atlantic League, Paulino has pitched in Japan, Mexico and Venezuela over the past few years. He racked up 63 saves as Sugar Land’s closer from 2017-19.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Astros, Rockies Had Interest In Edwin Encarnacion]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162986 2019-06-17T12:15:02Z 2019-06-17T03:53:21Z Moving as much of Edwin Encarnacion’s salary as possible was the Mariners’ prime incentive in finding a trade partner for the slugger, which is why the Yankees ultimately won the bidding.  Other teams were also checking in with the M’s about Encarnacion, though ultimately weren’t as willing as New York was to cover as much salary, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets.  We heard earlier today about the Rays’ interest, and Feinsand reports that the Astros “were also actively involved, with the Rockies in the mix to a lesser extent.”

    Encarnacion would certainly have beefed up a first base/DH mix that has been Houston’s only real offensive weak spot this season, as both Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White have posted below-average numbers.  Then again, young Yordan Alvarez’s hot start has created optimism that the Astros could address that DH need from within, and the Astros are seemingly more in need of pitching than they are of another big bat (then again, the same could’ve been said of the Yankees).

    In terms of taking on salary, Jason Martinez of Roster Resource has the Astros projected for a luxury tax number of just under $189.5MM, well below the $206MM Competitive Balance Tax threshold.  Since the Yankees ended up adding only $3.4MM in extra luxury tax funds in the Encarnacion trade, on paper it would seem like Houston would certainly have taken on a similar financial obligation and still had enough money left over to acquire pitching without crossing the CBT line.  Of course, it’s possible other factors were part of any Houston/Seattle talks. Perhaps the Mariners wanted more to trade Encarnacion within the AL West; maybe the two sides just couldn’t agree on a suitable prospect to change hands in a deal.

    Colorado would’ve been more of a curious fit for Encarnacion, which likely explains their “lesser” degree of interest.  Without a DH spot on offer, the Rockies would have had to play Encarnacion at first base every day, which might have been a tough ask of a 36-year-old who has spent the bulk of his time as a designated hitter over the last nine seasons.  (Encarnacion did start at first base 45 times for the Mariners this year, though still with 19 DH starts to keep him well-rested.)

    Adding Encarnacion to first base would have also required a shift back to second base for Daniel Murphy, who has been a decidedly subpar defensive second baseman throughout his entire career.  The Rockies might have been considering whether the fielding dropoff would have been worth the risk, since Murphy’s bat might have at least sparked some type of positive help from the second base spot.  No team in baseball has gotten less production (-1.0 bWAR) than the Rockies out of their second basemen in 2019.

    Then again, Murphy has yet to really catch fire at the plate himself, hitting only .278/.324/.463 with five homers over 176 PA, while missing four weeks with a fractured finger.  As the Rockies look towards the trade deadline, the easier solution to their second base situation might be to simply acquire an actual second baseman as an upgrade over the Ryan McMahon/Brendan Rodgers/Garrett Hampson mix, rather than move Murphy over and obtaining a new first baseman.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros Sign Pair Of Draft Picks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162794 2019-06-15T22:53:01Z 2019-06-15T22:45:30Z
  • The Astros announced the signing of second-rounder Grae Kessinger, a shortstop from Ole Miss. The 68th overall pick, Kessinger received $750K – down from a $953K slot value. Kessinger may move into a second base/utility role in the pros, Callis and Mayo write. Houston also signed fourth-rounder Colin Barber to a deal worth well above slot, Callis relays. Barber, the 136th pick ($410K slot value), received $1MM. The California high schooler and former Oregon commit profiles as a hard-hitting right fielder, Callis writes.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jake Marisnick Dealing With Left Knee Discomfort]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162786 2019-06-15T05:29:03Z 2019-06-15T05:29:03Z
  • Speaking of center fielders in fine form, the Astros’ Jake Marisnick departed their game Friday with left knee discomfort, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. It’s unclear whether the issue will force the Astros to send yet another player to the IL. Marisnick, 28, has paired above-average offense with his usual excellent defense en route to 1.3 fWAR in 156 trips to the plate this year.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Astros Notes: Bullpen, James, White, Draft]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162536 2019-06-13T23:51:13Z 2019-06-13T22:59:56Z The latest out of Houston…

    • It has widely been expected that the Astros will target rotation help at the deadline, though Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle wonders if the club could also look at acquiring a reliever.  There isn’t much wrong on paper with the Astros’ relief corps, as they rank first in the league in bullpen WHIP, second in hits/9, and third in bullpen ERA, though there is some uncertainty at the back end.  Josh James has been inconsistent this season, while Rome notes that Hector Rendon didn’t pitch well down the stretch in 2018.  There also isn’t much left-handed depth beyond Cionel Perez and reverse-splits specialist Will Harris.
    • Speaking of James, he left last night’s game for what he described as “a precautionary move” due to lat tightness, Rome tweets, and James didn’t consider the issue to be serious.  The 26-year-old has a stunning 14.4 K/9 this season, usually operating as a multi-inning weapon out of Houston’s pen, though James has had troubles with the long ball (1.7 HR/9) and his control (5.9 BB/9).  As a result, James only has a 4.71 ERA to show for all his missed bats.
    • The Astros are close to getting a lot of notable stars back from the injured list, which Rome feels could lead to something of a roster crunch.  Tyler White could be the odd man out, as he hasn’t hit this season and offers little defensive value apart from his current status as the Astros’ only backup first baseman.  These issues also make the out-of-options White difficult to trade, though given his strong minor league numbers and the .888 OPS he posted for the Astros over 237 PA just last season, one would think another team would make a claim if White was indeed designated for assignment.  Tony Kemp is another player whose role could be diminished once Houston’s regulars are healthy, though Kemp’s on-base ability and defensive versatility seemingly give him the leg up on White if a choice had to be made.
    • In a separate piece from Rome, he writes about the Astros’ attempts to free up enough room within their $5,355,100 draft bonus pool to sign fourth-round pick Colin Barber.  The 136th overall pick has a $410.1K slot price, though Barber reportedly wants more to break his commitment to the University of Oregon.  Barber’s asking price isn’t known, though Houston has already carved out approximately $645K in pool space thanks to a few below-slot signings, much of which ($507.3K) came from first-rounder Korey Lee’s contract.  Of course, not all of that extra money is earmarked for Barber, given that the Astros have also gone above-slot to sign a couple of their other picks.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Astros To Promote Rogelio Armenteros, Derek Fisher Optioned To Triple-A]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162515 2019-06-13T20:08:45Z 2019-06-13T19:44:51Z The Astros are calling up right-hander Rogelio Armenteros for his big league debut, according to the Pelota Cubana blog (hat tip to Las Mayores’ Francys Romero).  Outfielder Derek Fisher is headed back to Triple-A as the corresponding move, as per several outlets.  The move will be made official prior to tomorrow’s game.

    Signed out of Cuba in 2014, Armenteros has a 3.35 ERA, 3.08 K/BB rate, and a 10.0 K/9 over 475 career innings in Houston’s minor league system (85 of 98 games as a starter).  He hasn’t been as sharp at Triple-A this season, with a 5.00 ERA over 45 frames, though it could just be a short-term promotion.  GM Jeff Luhnow said (via Mark Berman of FOX 26 News in Houston) that Armenteros is being recalled to give the Astros some extra pitching depth after going to extra innings in three of their last six games, including a 14-inning affair on Wednesday.

    MLB.com rates Armenteros as the 22nd-best prospect in the Astros’ farm system, with a “tumbling changeup” that rates as his only plus pitch.  Armenteros has hit 95mph on his fastball on occasion, though generally throws in the 88-92mph range, relying more on disguising his four-pitch arsenal.  “He has little margin for error and survives by not making many mistakes,” as MLB.com’s scouting report puts it.

    Fisher heads back to Triple-A after his latest brief stint in the majors, as he was recalled back on May 25 when George Springer hit the IL.  Formerly a top-100 ranked prospect, Fisher has yet to deliver much in parts of three MLB seasons (.201/.282/.367), though with just 312 total plate appearances to his name in the big leagues, he has hardly received much of an extended opportunity to prove himself.  It remains to be seen if such a chance, however, will ultimately come given the Astros’ crowded outfield picture when everyone is healthy.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Altuve, Springer Among Astros Nearing Rehab Assignments]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162461 2019-06-13T06:14:51Z 2019-06-13T06:14:51Z Injured Astros stars Jose Altuve and George Springer are close to returning to game action. Altuve’s on track to begin a rehab assignment this weekend, according to manager A.J. Hinch, and Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports Springer may do the same. Ditto for right-hander Collin McHugh. Meanwhile, catcher Max Stassi will begin a rehab assignment Thursday, per Rome (links: 1, 2).

    The 29-year-old Altuve originally went to the IL on May 11 with a left hamstring strain – an injury which is no longer an issue. However, shortly after Altuve embarked on a rehab assignment May 25, the Astros shut him down following a setback in his surgically repaired right leg. The normally durable Altuve has now missed the Astros’ past 30 games, and he didn’t perform up to his usual standards before landing on the IL. Across 164 plate appearances, the six-time All-Star has slashed a still-solid .243/.329/.472 (117 wRC+) with nine home runs – though that pales in comparison to his output from 2014-18 – and has stolen just one base after swiping no fewer than 17 in any season since 2012.

    Springer, also 29, put himself in the early season AL MVP conversation before suffering a Grade 2 left hamstring strain May 25. Prior to that injury, Springer hit .308/.389/.643 (172 wRC+) with 17 homers in 216 trips to the plate.

    McHugh went to the IL with elbow discomfort May 21, continuing a brutal contract season for the normally effective hurler. After thriving out of the Astros’ bullpen in 2018, the 31-year-old McHugh began this season in their rotation and logged a 6.37 ERA/5.19 FIP in 41 innings, though he did post 9.22 K/9 against 3.07 BB/9. The Astros then shifted McHugh back to their bullpen, and he made two appearances in relief before going to the IL.

    Perhaps Houston will give McHugh another crack at starting eventually, considering it hasn’t been able to establish a fifth starter behind Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley and Brad Peacock. McHugh’s immediate successor, Corbin Martin, was even worse before the team sent him back to Triple-A Round Rock on June 4. The Astros replaced Martin with Framber Valdez, who shut down the Orioles over seven innings in his first start June 8. He’ll take the ball again Saturday against Toronto.

    The light-hitting, defensively adept Stassi has been out since May 26 with a left knee injury. The Astros called up prospect Garrett Stubbs to take Stassi’s spot, though starter Robinson Chirinos has gotten almost all of the work.

    Even with their myriad injuries, including to franchise shortstop Carlos Correa, the Astros have continued to roll. At 46-23, they boast the majors’ top record. Of course, their already formidable roster will look far more imposing once their reinforcements return. That’s a frightening thought for the rest of the league.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros Sign First-Rounder Korey Lee]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162369 2019-06-12T21:37:32Z 2019-06-12T21:28:56Z The Astros announced Wednesday that they’ve signed first-round pick Korey Lee. The now-former Cal catcher will receive a $1.75MM bonus that checks in a bit more than $500K south of his No. 32 overall slot’s $2,257,300 value, per Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). He’s represented by the Boras Corporation, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

    The selection of Lee, 20, came as a surprise to some. He wasn’t ranked as a likely first-rounder and drew varying reviews on pre-draft rankings from Fangraphs (No. 45), MLB.com (No. 119) and Baseball America (No. 173). Lee posted a whopping .340/.422/.619 batting line with 14 homers in his junior season, but he’d never hit close to that level in the past. He draws praise for his improved receiving, plus power and arm strength, though he’s considered a below-average runner.

    Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen note in their report at Fangraphs that scouts got plenty of looks at Lee when they were on hand to watch his teammate, No. 3 overall pick Andrew Vaughn, and that some clubs picking near the top of the draft were eyeing Lee with their second pick. The Astros clearly were high on Lee themselves and may have feared that he wouldn’t last until their second selection; beyond that, the fact that he’s perhaps viewed as a reach surely helped the team to sign him to an under-slot deal, which will give them extra funds to sign their remaining picks.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Why Projections Are Split On Yordan Alvarez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161993 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z
  • Yordan Alvarez enjoyed a dream debut in the majors today, going 1-for-3 with a walk and his first MLB home run, a two-run blast that proved to be the winning score in Houston’s 4-0 win over Baltimore.  The young Astros slugger is considered one of the game’s most promising young bats, though there is far from a consensus on his overall value as a prospect, The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan writes (subscription required).  Alvarez is largely seen as a bat-only player, with limited defensive value as a left fielder or first baseman despite some solid athleticism for a man of his size (6’5″, 225 pounds).  “Any projection of Alvarez’s future value will take a hit by an evaluator who doesn’t believe he can stick in left,” Kaplan writes, and he speaks to several writers from sites such as Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and MLB.com about why Alvarez received a pretty wide range of rankings.
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