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November 12, 2013

One Move

American League West

by Ben Carsley


This is the fifth installment in the One Move series. If you'd like to check out any of the previous editions in this series, you can find them here: AL Central, NL West, AL East, NL Central.

We’ve reached the end of the junior circuit portion of the One Move series, and what a ride it’s been. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. We’ve learned. We’ve argued about the relative worth of a two-WARP pitcher. And, we’re all the better for it.

The AL West is a fun division for this exercise, as it contains three teams with a reasonable shot of contention, each at a different point in their window of contention, and two rebuilding projects, too. That let’s us cover a wide swath of free agents and trade possibilities in the quest to improve each of these franchises for 2014 and beyond.

Houston Astros: Find upside without blocking prospects
We’re all familiar with where the Astros are in their rebuilding process. While they have one of the game’s better farm systems and are starting to integrate their building blocks with the MLB roster, they’re still a long ways away from anything close to contention. They might play well enough in 2014 to avoid landing the first overall pick for the first time in three years, but odds are they’ll be picking in the top three again.

With that being said, it falls on Houston to perform a delicate balancing act, giving their young players enough playing time to ready them for the future without needlessly wasting service time. To that end, the Astros are better off giving the likes of Chris Carter, Matt Dominguez, Robbie Grossman, and Jonathan Villar regular playing time to start the season, along with regulars Jason Castro and Jose Altuve. In the rotation, Jarred Cosart, Jordan Lyles, Brett Olberholtzer, and Brad Peacock should be given at least half a season of starts as well.

Other then that, the Astros should look to bolster their 2014 team with players who can be flipped for assets halfway through the year, or who could conceivably even play well enough to be given qualifying offers at the season’s end. On the offensive side of the ball, this could include players like Corey Hart, Jason Kubel, Franklin Gutierrez, and Chris Young. Starters like Josh Johnson, Gavin Floyd, Mike Pelfrey, and Ryan Vogelsong make sense, and relievers like Carlos Marmol, Joba Chamberlain, Frank Francisco, and Joel Hanrahan could end up as good buy-low candidates, too.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: A... (11/12)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article One Move: National Lea... (11/11)
Next Column >>
Premium Article One Move: National Lea... (11/14)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: Picki... (11/12)

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