Options abound for Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow as the team prepares to head out to Florida for Spring Training.
“I think having options is always a good thing heading into spring and that’s what we’ve got,” Luhnow said.
The pitching staff, in particular, is a place where there are plenty of candidates for a limited number of jobs.
“Where there’s going to be the most competition is the starting rotation, we have nine guys, 10 guys you can imagine winning a spot,” Luhnow said. “And the relievers, there’s a lot of different mix and match in the relievers. Including some of the starters, if they don’t make the rotation possibly could be in the pen.”
Part of the decision making process is likely to revolve around players who are out of options. While that might seem like it could hamstring the decision-making process, it worked out for the Astros last year.
“Last year Harrell was out of options, we were debating between the rotation and the bullpen and we made the decision to put him back in the starting rotation, that was probably one of the best decisions we made all year,” Luhnow said. “He went from being a guy that was sort of on the cusp of not making the team to one of our most consistent starters throughout the year.”
One scenario that Luhnow doesn’t fear is putting young players on the team. There’s one criteria that sits above all others when it comes to getting an opportunity.
“I think we’re going to have to have a couple of young players on our team, whether it’s in the rotation, the bullpen, the outfield,” Luhnow said. “We’re going to continue to develop the best possible players and if we feel someone is ready to compete at that level it doesn’t matter if they’re 22 years old or 28 years old. We’ll give them a chance because we want to field the best team.