Fewer options may actually benefit a small group of players in Astros’ camp. As the date nears for the first cuts of the pre-season, there is a handful of players who likely won’t be packing their bags in that initial round. In fact, these nine players will get long and even extra looks and their fates may not be determined until the final weeks, if not days, of spring training. It makes the going tough for another group of players trying to crack the roster, many for the first time. In addition to Rule 5 picks Josh Fields and Nate Freiman, seven other players are out of options and can’t be sent to Oklahoma City without clearing waivers. Here’s a quick rundown and prediction: Josh Fields. RHP, 27 years old. Rule 5 draft. Fields apparently caught the attention of GM Jeff Luhnow several years ago and is almost a shoo-in to make the roster after the Astros selected him with the top overall Rule 5 pick. He’ll either remain with the Astros all season or have to be offered back to Boston. While the 27-year-old Fields may be a late bloomer, his control — or lack thereof — may determine how big a flower he becomes. Prediction: Makes the team. Nate Freiman. 1B/DH. 26 years old. Rule 5 draft. His stock may have dropped somewhat with the addition of Chris Carter, but he either stays with the club all season or is offered back to the Padres. One other possibility: The Astros could work out a trade with San Diego if they’d like to let him spend some grooming time in OKC. If he keeps up the pace of his first three games (4-for-7), the Astros’ only decisions will be where to hit him in the lineup. Prediction: Makes the team, but after another player is traded or injured. Wesley Wright. LHP. 28 years old. Out of options. Wright’s come a long way since he was a Rule 5 draftee back in ’05. No brainer here as Wright and his $1.025 million salary are a lock for a bullpen spot. Still, the Astros won’t have the option to option him to OKC. Prediction: Lock to make the team.
9 players the Astros will think twice about releasing this spring
Houston Chronicle | Feb 26