Following the 7-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians, the Houston Astros needed to make some roster moves. Following the flurry of trades at the last minute of the trade deadline, space was needed on the 25-man roster for the three trade deadline pitching acquisitions: Zack Greinke, Joe Biagini, and Aaron Sanchez. Catcher Martin Maldonado had already joined the team, taking departed catcher’s Max Stassi roster spot, who was traded to the Angels.
Urquidy, Abreu, Straw sent down
According to Jake Kaplan, the Astros optioned Urquidy, Abreu, and Myles Straw. Yes, Straw, even though the Astros are going back home to Texas, where straws are allowed. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) It had appeared that Straw won the battle for the last position player over Tony Kemp with his speed and flexibility. But just a day after Kemp was traded to the Cubs, and six days after Kemp was designated for assignment, Straw is heading to Round Rock.
Straw, Urquidy and Abreu optioned to clear spots for Greinke, Sanchez and Biagini
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) August 2, 2019
Per Kaplan, the Astros wanted to keep an eight-man bullpen. Leading up to the deadline, the Astros employed a four-man rotation. A return to a five-man rotation necessitates keeping an extra pitcher if the Astros wanted to continue having an eight-man pen. Cy Sneed stays with the big club for now.
Abreu showed some promise in his lone appearance in the show, but Sneed has been the more consistent pitcher in his time with the Astros. Sneed already has some experience with long relief in the bigs, in case of an early exit for Aaron Sanchez in his Astros’ rotation debut Saturday. Having just started on Wednesday, Urquidy would not have been an option.
Abreu was optioned down to Double-A, but got his first taste of the big leagues. He reminded me a little of a stronger David Paulino. (Is anyone old enough to remember him?)
In Triple-A Round Rock, the Astros will keep Urquidy stretched out in case he needed to make a spot start or rejoin the rotation. He showed some promise in two games but struggled in the other three. Urquidy had a 1-1 record with a 5.87 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 23 innings. Jeff Luhnow has been saying good things about him all season. However, rookie pitchers often struggle with consistency.
Straw proved to be a valuable player while the Astros dealt with various injuries. With Aledmys Diaz and Carlos Correa out for an extended time, Straw demonstrated his ability to play shortstop, a position he just took up this year. With his elite speed, we will likely see him on the playoff roster again this season. Straw had an impressive .372 OBP and had seven stolen bases in eight attempts in 39 games played. With a depleted Triple-A roster, and the return of Correa and Diaz, returning to AAA means regular playing time for Straw to stay fresh.
More Roster Crunch to come
When Ryan Pressly and/or Brad Peacock is ready to return from the IL, Sneed and perhaps Chris Devenski will be optioned to Triple-A. Devenski still has three option years remaining. They will likely take it slow with Josh James, waiting for him to rejoin the team when rosters expand in September. Astros fans are ready to see the new additions make their debut.
We discussed this and more on the Locked On Astros podcast, a daily Astros podcast.