Results tagged ‘ Nate Freiman ’

Astros lose Freiman in waiver claim by Oakland

Nate Freiman, who was trying to make the club as a Rule 5 pick, was claimed on waivers Saturday afternoon by the Oakland A’s. He must stay on their 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Padres, where he was plucked away by Houston in last year’s Rule 5 Draft.

Freiman, who hadn’t played since Wednesday, had hit .278 with one homer and seven RBIs, and it became increasingly clear he wasn’t going to fit into the Astros’ plan.

The Astros now have 35 players in camp.

“When we selected him in the Rule 5 in December we thought we were getting a right-handed power guy who’s had good success, and he’s done everything to prove that’s what he was,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Subsequent to that, getting [Chris] Carter in the trade and having [Brandon] Laird have a tremendous spring and [Brett] Wallace looking good, [Carlos] Pena looking good, it came down to a roster fit that wasn’t there that we thought might work differently.”

Luhnow said the Astros were potentially going to have a conversation with the Padres about trading for Freiman if they could get him through waivers, which they didn’t.

“He did a good job and he proved to us he is what he thought he was,” Luhnow said. “Whether or not he’s ready for the big leagues after being in Double-A that’s anybody’s guess, but he did everything that we hoped he would. It’s not a reflection on him, it’s a reflection we stayed healthy and we had a lot of options on the corners. When you talk about a player that is limited to first base or DH, there’s not many roster spots available for those types of players.”

The move perhaps betters the chances of Laird, who’s swung the well this spring, of making the team, but there’s still lots of competition for the final few position spots.

“It clears up the picture a little bit,” Luhnow said. “It doesn’t mean anybody’s guaranteed anything yet because we still need to determine those last couple of spots with [Brandon] Barnes and J.D.  [Martinez] and Laird, and there’s still enough guys in the mix. Same thing on the pitching side with the last spot in the bullpen, the last spot in the rotation. We still have our work cut out for us but we have games every day so we’ll keep after it.”

Meanwhile, relief pitcher Josh Fields, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in Rule 5 Draft, still has a good shot to make the club.

“It’s a little easier with a relief pitcher than it is with a position player,” Luhnow said. “We’re still optimistic we can give him a few more looks and make the right decision for the club.”

Astros close to deciding on Freiman, Fields

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the team has gathered enough information to make a decision whether it wants to keep Rule 5 picks Nate Freiman, a first baseman, and Josh Fields, a relief pitcher, and is now debating the future of both players.

Fields, the No. 1 pick in December’s Rule 5 Draft, has a good shot to make the team considering how wide open the bullpen is. He’s appeared in eight games and has allowed seven hits, six walks and three earned runs while striking out four.

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Rule 5 pick Nate Freiman

Freiman, who didn’t play Thursday or Friday, has hit .278 with one homer and seven RBIs and is trying to make a club where the corner infield is crowded, especially with the emergence of Brandon Laird and Brett Wallace’s good spring output.

“At this point in spring, [manager Bo Porter] has done a really good job of giving everybody that’s in camp at-bats and we feel like we have a lot of information to make the decisions we need to make,” Luhnow said. “The tough part between now and next Sunday is whittling it down to the 25 guys and figuring out what our strategy is with the ones who aren’t on the 25.

“With the case of the two Rule 5 players, it’s all or nothing for the most part unless you can work out a deal. We’ve done a good job working Fields out there enough times to get a feel for where he’s at, and the same thing with Freiman. We have to make those decisions here in the week.”

The Astros could work out a trade to keep Freiman. In that case, they would place him on outright waivers and the other teams would have a chance to claim him and would subsequently have to keep him on their 25-man roster all season.

If he clears waivers, which most Rule 5 picks do, the Astros would have three days to work out a deal with the Padres or offer him back if they can’t. If the Padres take him back, they would give the Astros $25,000. If they don’t, the Astros are free to take him off the 40-man and put him in their Minor League system.

Houston worked out a trade with Cleveland in 2005 to keep Rule 5 pick Willy Taveras, who wound up finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting that season behind Ryan Howard. Luke Scott also came to Houston in that deal.

Ausmus chimes in on Freiman

Long-time Astros catcher Brad Ausmus had good things to say about Nate Freiman, the slugging first baseman the Astros drafted off the Padres roster with the No. 1 pick of the second round in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. (Houston took pitcher Josh Fields from Boston with the overall top pick).

Ausmus managed Freiman, who played for team Israel, during the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in September in Jupiter, Fla. Freiman hit .417 with four home runs and seven RBIs in three games before Israel was eliminated by Spain, 9-6. Four of his five hits were home runs.

“He’s a great guy,” Ausmus said. “He’s a good hitter with power. He has a short stroke for a big man. He’s the type of teammate everyone pulls for.”

Freiman, 25, hit.298 with 31 doubles, 24 homers, 105 RBIsand an .872 OPS in 137 games with Double-A San Antonio in 2012, earning both mid-season and post-season All-Star honors in the Texas League.

In 483 career Minor League games (462 as a first baseman), he has a .294 (551-for-1876) average with 131 doubles, 71 homers, 368 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage. The 6-foot-7 right-handed hitter was originally drafted by the Padres in the eighth round of the June 2009 Draft out of Duke University.

Astros take Fields, Freiman

The Astros added a pair of players Thursday they believe can help them next season when they selected right-handed pitcher Josh Fields with the first overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft and first baseman Nate Freiman with the first pick of the second round.

Fields, 27, is expected to pitch at the back end of the Astros’ bullpen. He appeared in 42 games in the Minor Leagues for the Red Sox last year and was 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. Fields was a consensus top pick for Houston.

“We liked him at 1-1 all along,” Astros director of pro scouting Kevin Goldstein said. “We had scouting stuff and analytic stuff, and Fields was at the top of both lists. In the end, there wasn’t a long conversation at all about 1-1. We kind of sat in the room and said ‘1-1 is Fields’ and everyone kind of nodded their head and moved on.”

Fields and Freiman will have to stay on the 25-man roster for the full season or be offered back to his former team.

Fields was drafted in the second round in 2007 by the Braves out of Georgia and returned to school and was selected in the first round (20th overall) the next year by the Mariners.

“We think he can pitch in our bullpen right away, and that’s something we needed,” Goldstein said.

The Astros would have passed with their first pick of the second round had Freiman not been available, Goldstein said. He’s a 6-foot-7 right-handed power bat who wears out left-handed pitching.

Freiman, 25, hit .298 with 24 homers and 105 RBIs in 137 games at Double-A San Antonio (Padres) with 95 strikeouts in 581 plate appearances.  He followed up his big season with San Antonio with a standout performance for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier in September.

Of his five hits, four were home runs, though Israel lost to Spain in extra innings, thus missing out on a spot in the WBC next spring.

“This is a guy who’s worth taking a chance on, a guy we’ve like since his days at Duke,” Goldstein said. “He was great in Arizona and played well for Israel as well. Right-handed guys with that kind of power are not normally available in the Rule 5. You think about what we have right now. He destroys left-handed pitching and he’s a guy you give an opportunity to him in the spring and see what he can do.”

Houston also took two players in the Minor League phase – outfielder Michael Burgess from the Cubs and right-handed pitcher Cameron Lamb from the Giants.

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