Earlier today, the Oakland Athletics claimed Nate Freiman from the Houston Astros. Freiman is slugging six foot eight inch first baseman. He has never been above Double A, but he he can hit. There wasn’t much room for him on the Astros’ roster with the way Brandon Laird, Rick Ankiel, and Brandon Barnes have played so far this spring. Once the Astros traded for Chris Carter, Freiman’s time was numbered. The best case scenario would have been for the Astros to trade a player to San Diego so they could have kept him, but it just didn’t work out. General Manager Jeff Luhnow said they tried to do so, but it never really got going.
The Astros have been long ball machines this Spring, hitting a Grapefruit League leading 40 home runs. A couple guys who have had a part in that are non-roster invitees. For those guys to be on the roster come Opening Night, the Astros are going to need to make some moves. The Freiman move opens a spot up for either Brandon Laird or Rick Ankiel. Laird has the advantage here. He can play either corner infield slot and designated hitter. Freiman, who was a first baseman, was removed from the 25 man roster which leads me to believe that Laird will be the one to gain his spot on both the 40 man roster and the 25 man roster. Ankiel, however, is also hitting the ball well. He had two hits, one of which was a two run home run against Atlanta Braves closer, Craig Kimbrel. Ankiel has a rocket of a left arm, and also has relationships with manager Bo Porter from his days as a Washington National, and also with Jeff Luhnow from when he was a St. Louis Cardinal.
The only question I have against Ankiel is what will the Astros do with Brandon Barnes. Barnes is the best defensive outfielder the Astros have. He could be utilized as a ninth hitter and become a second lead off hitter. He is fast, and he has shown some pop off of his bat this Spring.
Josh Fields, like Freiman, is a Rule V draft pick. If the Astros want to keep him, he will need to stay on the 25 man roster all season long. He has had the better chance out of the two to do so just because he is a relief pitcher. The Astros need bullpen help, and Fields looks like he will be able to provide some help.
With Spring Training winding down, the Astros will have some tough decisions to make coming out of camp. We here at ‘Stros Bros will try our best to keep you up to date. Follow us on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and leave us comments below!