Bobby Heck, the Astros' assistant general manger/director of scouting, said the team has been engaged in contract talks with Springer's representatives and was confident the two sides would be able to reach a deal prior to next month's deadline. The Astros tendered Springer a contract offer, received a proposal in return and have sent back an offer.
"The pace I would say is more of a walk-stroll than it is a jog or a run right now," Heck said. "With a month left, hopefully George seizes the opportunity and sees getting started this summer can be beneficial for him and that we've shown a track record of moving players, especially of his caliber."
Meanwhile, the Astros have been keeping tabs on their third-round pick, junior right-hander Jack Armstrong of Vanderbilt, while he pitches in the Cape Cod League this summer. He's started two games for Yarmouth-Dennis in the wooden bat league and has allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in 8 2/3 innings.
"Both starts have been positive," Heck said. "This is something we knew we were taking into consideration, that he would probably pitch the whole summer up there to try to reestablish the value he had prior to this spring. We'll continue to go up there and watch him pitch."
Astros national cross checker David Post will be in attendance when Armstrong pitches Sunday, along with Midwest supervisor Ralph Bratton. Heck plans to watch him pitch the following Sunday.
Now that the Astros have signed their 34th-round pick, right-hander Dustin Kellogg, Heck said the Astros are still targeting four more players, including Springer and Armstrong. The two remaining players are high school picks with whom Heck said the club is prepared to get aggressive in getting them signed. The Astros have signed 32 of 50 Draft picks, including eight of the first 10.