Astros' Patience Waning with Struggling Veteran

Exploring alternatives as Astros evaluate first base lineup changes.

by Nouman Rasool
Astros' Patience Waning with Struggling Veteran
© Tim Warner/Getty Images

As the Houston Astros grapple with a disappointing start to the season, sitting last in the AL West with a record of 7-15, attention is increasingly turning towards the performance of their veteran first baseman, Jose Abreu.

The Astros' front office, represented by General Manager Dana Brown, has been forthright about the team's challenges and the potential changes looming if improvements aren't seen. Jose Abreu, at 37, has struggled significantly at the plate this year, managing a mere .073 batting average with a .148 on-base percentage and .091 slugging percentage over 61 plate appearances.

These figures represent a stark decline from even his underwhelming 2023 performance, where he finished with an 86 wRC+ across 141 games. Brown, speaking to Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle, expressed that while the team remains hopeful Abreu can reverse his fortunes, decisions regarding his role may be imminent if his slump continues.

Astros' First Base Options

The Astros have a few alternatives at first base should they decide to reduce Abreu's playing time. Jon Singleton, though not particularly impressive with a .250/.333/.313 slash line this season, stands as the primary backup.

Other roster candidates include Trey Cabbage and Grae Kessinger, each bringing different skills to the table but yet to prove they can carry the load at the major league level. Around the league, other AL West teams are also making headlines.

Texas Rangers' ace, Max Scherzer, appears on track for a speedy return from a herniated disc surgery after completing a 40-pitch session without issues. Scheduled to start a rehab assignment soon, Scherzer's return could bolster a rotation that currently ranks near the bottom of the league in FIP.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Angels are dealing with their own roster issues as third baseman Anthony Rendon exited a recent game with a hamstring injury. Rendon, who has faced numerous injuries since joining the Angels, was just beginning to find his form at the plate.

Should he require a stint on the injured list, Brandon Drury would likely take over at third base, with the team adjusting its lineup accordingly. As the season progresses, the Astros and their division rivals will continue to navigate through injuries and underperformances, making strategic adjustments in hopes of turning their fortunes around.

For the Astros, much will depend on whether veterans like Abreu can rediscover their form or if younger players will need to step up and fill significant roles.