With only ten days until Opening Night, the Houston Astros have yet to name their closer for the 2013 season. You could make the argument that closers are over-valued pieces of the bullpen and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but that is not what matters right now.
The Astros 25 man roster is slowly coming together. Their first three starting pitchers have been named, as well as their leadoff hitter, and more players are beginning to get sent down to the minors. Pieces are starting to fall into place for the Astros.
Last season, Brett Myers made the move to the bullpen becoming the Astros closer before being traded to the Chicago White Sox mid-season. After that, Wilton Lopez took over the role before being traded to the Colorado Rockies. The closer that started this whole trend was Mark Melancon, who was closing games out for the Astros before he was traded to the Boston Red Sox.
While the Astros haven’t named a closer yet, many believe this season’s closer will be Jose Veras. Veras was acquired this offseason and immediately became the apparent choice for the role. He brings experience and a fiery fastball as part of his repertoire. Last season, he had a mediocre season for the Milwaukee Brewers by posting a 3.63 ERA in 72 games.
Many Astros fans are wondering if the Astros might go after a free agent closer. Shall I get Brian Wilson on the phone? A player like Wilson who is coming off of his second Tommy John surgery could be a great low risk/high reward player. At this point, I think he would pitch for anyone interested in his services. Yes, even the Astros.
While that may be a possibility, I don’t think the Astros will do it. It won’t cost the team very much money, but I don’t think the Astros are going to bring someone in who hasn’t pitched in almost a year. Spring Training is almost over, and I don’t think anyone knows when or where Wilson may pitch again.
So even though the Astros haven’t named a closer for this season yet, I think Jose Veras is a safe bet.