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The Astros official website announced today that the team made nine more roster cuts today to trim its number to 29, leaving just four more cuts to make before opening day. Among the winners was J.R. Towles, who was guaranteed a spot on the roster as Jason Castro was assigned to minor league camp. Losers included Casey Daigle, Wilton Lopez and Edwin Maysonet, who continues to do the most with the opportunities provided and continues to be snubbed by the club.

Towles impressed at the plate in spring training, hitting .359 with two homers and nine RBIs in 36 at-bats. That, of course, is just gravy on top of the solid plate defense he provides. Castro will have good opportunities in the future, just as soon as the Astros decide to stop trying to making me feel like I’m in the middle of a scene from Mean Girls. “Stop trying to make [Quintero] happen! It’s not going to happen!”

But what was really telling in the news release was this sentence in the last paragraph:

(Chris) Johnson had a great spring at the plate, but Pedro Feliz is entrenched as a starter and the Astros want Johnson to play every day.”

This sentence sums up everything that is wrong with the Astros right now.  The only position players that should be entrenched as starters are Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee.  Maybe Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence if you want to be lenient with the word “entrenched.”  But the Astros don’t have enough talent for anyone else to be entrenched in their positions.  What do they think they can’t miss out on with Feliz at third base?  His .694 OPS?  His declining offense that hasn’t seen him top 15 HRs in two seasons?  His defense?  Trust me – it’s not what it is at 35 that it was at 30.

Chris Johnson has a 1.037 OPS in spring training and leads the team with five homeruns to go with 14 RBIs (second on the team).  Someone needs to explain how that doesn’t warrant him playing every day at the Major League level, regardless of what they may be paying Feliz.  For that matter, why is it that Johnson should not be getting a roster spot ahead of Geoff Blum, who hasn’t hit better than .247 in two years with the Astros?

It seems that they have some players that are guaranteed spots by virtue of their age.  That’s a pretty bad way to run a team.


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