It goes without saying that the Houston Astros are headed towards an era of significant change going into the 2013 season. From the hiring of Bo Porter as the team’s manager, to the trade that sent Jed Lowrie away, to the team joining its (now) in-state rival Texas Rangers in the AL West, this is not a team that is shying away from shaking things up.
Now, you can add the team’s shortstop to the list of changes as Spring Training is about to draw to a close.
The Astros had hoped going into camp that the team’s shortstop position would be filled by utility man Tyler Greene, the former first-round pick from 2005 who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in August of 2012. However, that plan hasn’t worked out this spring, with the 29-year old hitting just .167 with a .528 OPS over 42 spring at-bats.
So, instead of going through a potential season of growing pains with a player who should be well in his prime, the team simply decided to make a change.
They did so by going back to the Cardinals’ well, signing veteran Ronny Cedeno (who had recently been cut from St. Louis) and immediately naming him the starter.
Their eagerness to go with Cedeno is another topic (hint: probably not going to work out), but it still leave the problem Greene, who has been told that the Astros 25-man roster is not a place that he’ll find himself in on Opening Day. As he’s out of options, that should lead to an impending release from his contract with the club; before that, however, the team plans on doing a little selling around the major leagues:
Astros exploring trade possibilities with Tyler Greene.
— Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) March 24, 2013
I’m not exactly sure what the team is thinking they might end up getting for a replacement-level career backup who has never been particularly good with his bat (.647 OPS through 621 PA) or with his glove (-17 DRS over 1504.2 innings), but I suppose the thinking is that if Houston ended up paying a PTBNL and a bit of cash, maybe there’s another team out there now who would do that same.
Greene isn’t entirely without upside (seven homers, .739 OPS over 133 PA with Houston in 2012), but his age suggests that significant advancement isn’t likely to come at this point of his career, and his defensive shortcomings makes him a difficult play even off the bench.
But that’s not to say that there aren’t teams out there who couldn’t us a backup infielder right now, though. In fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers can probably expect a call pretty soon.