Astros: Non-Tendering Herrmann Leads to More Questions

Eric Huysman on Nov. 30, 2018

Could the Astros non-tendering Chris Herrmann mean they are close to adding a catcher?

Earlier this evening, there was some breaking news that may not seem like a big deal after claiming catcher Chris Herrmann off waivers earlier this offseason from the Mariners. According to Chandler Rome, the Astros non-tendered Herrmann making him a free agent.

With Brian McCann signing with the Braves and Martin Maldonado still a free agent, this affects the depth of the roster at the catcher spot. This leaves Max Stassi and Garrett Stubbs as the only catchers on the 40-man roster.

Not that Herrmann was the answer as the everyday catcher, he could have been a Triple-A backup option for the Astros. He could have also been an Erik Kratz-like bridge until Stubbs was ready to be the everyday guy. Jeff Luhnow said earlier in the offseason that they would like to have 3-4 guys who can catch the Astros pitchers. With a focus on spin-rate, they need catchers who can block pitches well.

What changed?

On Thursday’s Astroline, Luhnow also mentioned that they expected to tender a contract to all 11 players. Instead, Herrmann is now updating his resume again looking for a job. The timing of this move is intriguing, but there was a deadline to tender the eligible players a contract.

What changed from last night to tonight? Did they need an open roster spot? Maybe they had buyers remorse and were looking to get rid of Herrmann while they could. The 40-man roster now sits at 37. Unless you are a fly in the room, we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.

With the need to add depth to the catching position, it is odd that they non-tendered Herrmann. That is unless they are pretty confident that they are about to add another catcher. While everyone would like to trade for JT Realmuto, the Marlins appear unwilling to move him without the Astros big prospects involved. As we discussed on Talking Stros last week, the Marlins don’t have the leverage they think they do. There are a couple of top catching free agents on the market they are competing against.

Other options.

Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos wouldn’t require a trade, just a financial commitment to one of them. Grandal would cost you a second-round pick most likely. Once one of the big names fall off the market, expect the others to follow soon after. Could the Astros be about to bring back Maldonado in a multi-year deal? Maybe they are confident that they can add another catcher before the start of spring training.

Maybe the Astros realized how much Herrmann was set to make in arbitration and decided to move on. He was nothing but a minor league depth option, but the team will look elsewhere. Maybe his release will lead to the big move we are waiting for. Fans will have to wait to see.

What was your favorite Chris Herrmann moment?

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