Results tagged ‘ Rule 5 ’

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.

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.

Astros face roster decisions

Here are the players the Astros must place on the 40-man roster by Tuesday or be eligible to be take in next month’s Rule 5 Draft:

Alvarez, Luis H
Castro, Erik B
Cisnero, Jose L
Cosart, Jarred L
Cruz, Luis L
De La Rosa, Luis A
Fick, Charles J
Garcia, Rene F
Genoves, Ernesto E
Goebbert, Jacob D
Gonzalez, Alfredo R
Gouvea, Murilo
Grimmett, Zachary
Grossman, Robert E
Hamburger, Mark J
Heredia, Angel L
Hogue, Jackson G
Krauss, Marc S
Lo, Chia-Jen
Martinez, David J
Martinez, Jose G
Meszaros, Daniel J
Monzon, Jose A
Moronta, Cristian M
Musick, Thomas W
Oberholtzer, Brett R
Orloff, Ben
Perez, Juri E
Quevedo, Carlos E
Quezada, Euris F
Rivera, Darwin J
Seaton, Ross A
Simunic, Andrew
Stoffel, Jason A
Tiburcio, Frederick
Urckfitz, Patrick
Villar, Jonathan R
Weiland, Kyle E
Wikoff, Brandon W
Zeid, Joshua A

Pendleton “super excited” to return to Astros

Lance Pendleton, who spent nearly the entire spring in Astros camp after he was taken in the Rule 5 Draft, was claimed on waivers Friday by his hometown club and will report to the Astros on Saturday – his 28th birthday – in time for the game against the Nationals in Washington.

“I’m super excited to get picked up and it makes it even better that it’s with the Astros,” Pendleton told

Pendleton, a right-hander, was in Houston on Friday when Astros general manager Ed Wade called and informed him he had been claimed. He gave him the option of flying to Washington to meet the team or just catching up the Astros when they return home Monday.

“Ed Wade called and said, ‘Hey, looks like we’re doing this all over again,’” Pendleton said. “I said, ‘Sounds good to me.’ He told me I could take my full three days and meet them on Monday or meet us there, and I said, ‘No, I’m ready to go.’”

Wade was pleased no one claimed Pendleton before the Astros.

“We liked him enough to take him in the Rule 5 Draft in December and we would have liked to have retained him in Spring Training,” he said. “We couldn’t get a deal workout with the Yankees to retain him. He’ll go into the mix and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Pendleton was offered back to the Yankees at the end of the spring and appeared in 11 Major League games, posting a 3.21 ERA for the Bombers. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (3-4, 3.11 ERA in 18 games, including 10 starts) and was designed for assignment on Tuesday.

“I’ve been up and down four times now with the Yankees, and when I was up it was sporadic on the mound,” Pendleton said. “I threw well when I got out there and felt pretty good. Going a week and a half or so between innings, it’s hard to stay sharp. When I went back down in Scranton, I threw pretty well.

“I would say it’s been a successful season for me and how I’ve been feeling. There are still things to work on and continue to get used to the bullpen. With the Astros, I’ll probably be in the bullpen. I don’t know what their long-term plan for me is. They might only have a three-week timeframe, but whatever they’re willing to give, I’ll try to take advantage of it.”

Astros face 40-man roster decisions

The Astros must have their 40-man roster set by 11 p.m., which is why club officials spent most of this week in meetings at Minute Maid Park going over the roster. Astros manager Brad Mills sat in on the meetings, along with the front office and members of the player development staff. Owner Drayton McLane participated on Monday and Tuesday.

Several spots on the 40-man have been cleared with players filing for free agency, so the Astros have some wiggle room. Any players on the 40-man roster by the end of today are protected from being taken by other club’s in next month’s Rule 5 draft. The roster is at 33 (if I’m counting correctly) entering Friday and will likely be at 37 at the end of the day after they add some Minor Leaguers. That will leave a few spots open for free agents, though they could create more spots by non-tendering contracts to some players.

But what Minor Leaguers will they add?

Among the players up for consideration are outfielder Drew Locke, pitcher Sergio Perez and infielder/outfielder Koby Clemens, who led all of the Minor Leagues in RBIs last season. Clemens appears to be a man without a position and isn’t likely to be added to the roster.

Generally, players drafted out of college have to be protected after their third full season in baseball, which means those taken in the 2006 draft. High school players have an extra year, meaning high school players drafted in 2005 are eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time.

The Astros can add these players to the 40-man roster, put them on the Triple-A roster, Double-A roster or Class A roster. Anyone on the Triple-A roster can be drafted in the Rule 5 draft and have to stay on the Major League roster for the entire season or be sent through waivers and offered back to the original club for half the waiver price. Players on the Double-A roster can be drafted in the Triple-A portion of the draft and be placed anywhere in the system.

Last year, the Astros selected Locke in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 draft from the Los Angeles Dodgers after he hit .311 with 11 homers and 85 RBIs at Class A Inland Empire. What a find. Locke hit .338 with 20 homers and 109 RBIs at Double-A Corpus Christi last season.

Clemens hit .345 with 22 homers and 121 RBIs and a .419 on-base percentage in hitter-friendly Lancaster and has been tinkering with playing first base. Perez was 11-11 with a 4.68 ERA in 27 starts at Corpus Christi.

Other first-time eligible players for the Rule 5 draft include:  right-handers Bryan Hallberg (Lancaster) and Casey Hudspeth (Lancaster/Corpus Christi), left-hander Chris Salamida (Lancaster), outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand (Corpus Christi) and outfielder Nick Moresi (Corpus Christi).

Left-hander Fernando Abad and infielder Wladimir Sutil were added to the 40-man earlier this month.