Teams across Major League Baseball have been aggressive early this offseason, signing minor league free agents quickly in the hopes of landing that next hidden gem on a low cost, low risk deal. Following suit, the Houston Astros added to their outfield mix on Tuesday, signing Trevor Crowe to a minor league deal. The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Crowe spent parts of three seasons in the Majors with the Cleveland Indians, from 2009 through 2011. The switch-hitting 29 year old has hit just .245/.295/.329 with 3 HR and 55 RBI over 713 career plate appearances, seeing time across all three outfield positions during his tenure with the Indians. The former 1st Round pick (2005) spent the entire 2012 season down in Triple-A, splitting his time between the Indians and Los Angeles Angels organizations (he was released by Cleveland mid-July, signing with LA the next day). He’d hit .281/.349/.397 over 350 plate appearances on the year, continuing to show some promise at the plate despite the complete lack of a power side to his offensive game.
The Astros are one of two teams (along with Miami) in baseball who arguably could be in an appealing position to minor league free agents such as Crowe. Given the uncertainty surrounding the team’s roster and the lack of a proven starter at many positions (though Justin Maxwell and J.D. Martinez are likely favorites at this point in time), the opportunity is there to win playing time amid what appears to be a true competition come Spring Training (between Crowe, Fernando Martinez, Jimmy Paredes, and newcomer Che-Hsuan Lin).