HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have tendered RHP Gerrit Cole a qualifying offer, selected LHP Kent Emanuel to the 40-man roster, reinstated RHP Lance McCullers Jr. from the 60-day IL, and declined their 2020 option on RHP Chris Devenski. Cole has filed for free agency, while Emanuel would have been eligible for minor league free agency today had he not been added to the 40-man roster. Despite not picking up his option, Devenski will remain with the club as an arbitration-eligible player. The announcements were made by Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
Cole, 29, was one of eight players on the Astros roster to file for free agency, joining C Robinson Chirinos, RHP Will Harris, C Martín Maldonado, RHP Collin McHugh, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Héctor Rondón and RHP Joe Smith. As of 4 p.m. CT today, all eight players are free to sign with other Major League clubs.
Emanuel, 27, spent his entire 2019 season at Triple-A Round Rock, posting an 8-2 record with a 3.90 ERA (44ER/101.2IP) in 28 games, including seven starts. He excelled down the stretch for the Express, posting a 5-1 record and a 2.16 ERA (12ER/50IP) in his final eight appearances (six starts). Emanuel held opponent lefties in check, holding them to a .219 opponent batting average with no home runs in 102 batters faced. Emanuel has pitched seven seasons (2013-19) in the Astros minor league system since being drafted by Houston in the third round of the 2013 draft out of the University of North Carolina.
McCullers Jr., 26, missed the entire 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, performed on Nov. 6, 2018. He is expected to make a full recovery and rejoin the team for the 2020 campaign. He last pitched for the Astros in 2018, posting a 10-6 record and a 3.86 ERA (55ER/128.1IP) in 25 games, including 22 starts.
Devenski, 28, will return to the Astros for his fifth full Major League season in 2020. He made 61 appearances out of the Astros bullpen last season, posting a 4.83 ERA (37ER/69IP) with 72 strikeouts.
With the removals of the eight free agents and the additions of Emanuel and McCullers Jr., the Astros 40-man roster now stands at 34 players.