It’s no question that the Houston Astros are going to make a ton of moves this off season. They may even make some big splashes on bullpen arms and an outfield bat. So when the news came in that Ryan Jackson, an infielder, had been claimed, questions abounded.
Jackson was a product of GM Jeff Luhnow‘s days with the St. Louis Cardinals, so no one knows Jackson’s capabilities better than the guy that scouted him. The claim itself isn’t too shocking as he’s a former fifth-round pick who is still only 25-years-old, but it was the corresponding moves that drew questions.
Following the claim, the Astros released John Ely and outrighted both J.D. Martinez and Jake Elmore. Elmore should come as no surprise, but the other two were unexpected. Martinez has hit a steady .250 since joining the Astros, and his power numbers have been fairly impressive as well. He would have found steady playing time in the Astros’ 2013 outfield if not for his injury troubles.
Ely was the other surprise. Following only four innings of work, Ely underwent Tommy John surgery. Yet instead of giving Ely a second shot, the Astros instead opted to release him. The move was unnecessary seeing as how the Astros did not need to free up any more roster space. Plus, Ely could have fit into a sorely lacking Astros bullpen.
Regardless of what Jackson becomes, the bigger story is the excessive movement from the Astros. Ely could have been a hidden gem and Martinez’s only fault was his injury — which is hardly a fault.