Just a week after losing right-hander Alex White to Tommy John elbow surgery the Astros lost another potential starter, right-hander John Ely, to the same surgery.
Ely, who was acquired from the Dodgers in a trade back in December, began the season at Triple-A after failing to win a rotation spot during spring training. He tossed four shutout innings in his only appearance there before being shut down and will miss the entire season.
Ely led the Pacific Coast League in ERA last season, going 14-7 with a 3.20 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 169 innings, but has a 5.70 ERA in 115 innings as a big leaguer through age 27.
As feared earlier this week, Astros right-hander Alex White needs Tommy John elbow surgery and will miss the entire season.
White was set to be the Astros’ fourth starter before complaining of elbow soreness late in spring training, so this is a very tough break for a pitcher whose stock had already dipped quite a bit in the past couple seasons.
White was originally the Indians’ first-round pick in 2009 and has been traded twice, going from Cleveland to Colorado in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal and from Colorado to Houston in the Wilton Lopez trade. He’ll be 25 years old by the time he throws another pitch in the majors and has a 6.03 career ERA in 149 innings so far.
Alex White was set to be the Astros’ fourth starter, but he injured his elbow late in spring training and now the 24-year-old former first-round pick may be headed for surgery.
Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports that nothing official has been decided yet, but White is “starting to accept the idea of Tommy John surgery.” He’s already been placed on the 60-day disabled list with what is being called a strained elbow.
White was the Indians’ first-round pick in 2009, got traded to the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal in mid-2011, and was sent to the Astros in December for Wilton Lopez.
Jordan Lyles threw a complete-game shutout against the Brewers in his final outing last season to finish 5-12 with a 5.09 ERA. Now, that doesn’t sound very impressive, but he was just 21 years old and that he was an Astro explains the win-loss record. He entered camp this year penciled in as Houston’s No. 3 starter behind Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris.
Unfortunately, Lyles’ position in the rotation is now very much in doubt. He gave up six runs in two-thirds of an inning in his start against the Braves on Friday, elevating his spring ERA to 25.20. In three outings, he’s given up 20 hits and 15 runs — 14 earned — over five innings.
The Astros do have rotation alternatives, so Lyles will probably be Triple-A bound barring a massive turnaround in his next two starts. Philip Humber and Erik Bedard were the favorites for the last two rotation spots entering camp, with Alex White and John Ely next in line. They also have Edgar Gonzalez and Dallas Kuechel available as fallback options.
Count on Houston looking at any out-of-options starters placed on waivers later this month. The Blue Jays’ Brett Cecil is an obvious possibility. There are also guys like the Dodgers’ Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, the Royals’ Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen and the Rays’ Jeff Niemann available in trade talks. Rick Porcello, too, but the Astros don’t have the closer the Tigers are looking for and probably wouldn’t want to give up prospects for him.
Coming off a franchise-worst 64-98 record, things aren’t looking all that promising for the Rockies in 2013, even with a healthy Troy Tulowitzki. One would think they would be open to moving certain pieces that could net them some pitching or prospects, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that they are content to stand pat with a potential trade target.
This is the same team that traded right-handers Alex White and Alex Gillingham to the Astros for set-up man Wilton Lopez earlier this offseason, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by their approach.
Cuddyer, who turns 34 in March, batted .260/.317/.489 with 16 home runs, 58 RBI and an .806 OPS in 101 games last season and missed a good chunk of time during the second half with an oblique injury. He will make $10.5 million in each of the next two seasons.