Astros no longer the worst
Houston will climb out of the MLB cellar for the first time since 2010
This year should be different. Not only are some of their prospects about to graduate to the majors, but they have acquired some depth at the major league level. They won't be the worst team in baseball, and might not even be one of the three worst.
Addition by subtraction
During the past two seasons, the major league roster experienced quite a bit of turnover as the team experimented with different players. Some of those experiments have worked out, and some did not or have not. The opportunities afforded to Brett Wallace, for example, have largely gone for naught. J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez also have failed to make the most of their opportunities. Brandon Barnes has a nice glove, but it's hard to maintain a sub-.300 on-base percentage and be a valuable major league player.
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The Phillies have a valuable trade chip in lefty Cole Hamels.