Rumors were swirling that the Houston Astros were going to land Jose Veras. How nice that would have been. Veras was the only steady reliever available to the Astros throughout the first half of the 2013 season, and with the latest additions, he may have actually had some games to save come 2014. But unfortunately, the talks between the two sides never panned out as Veras will officially be wearing the baby blue of the Chicago Cubs next year,
So now the Astros find themselves in the unenviable situation that they found themselves in after Veras was traded away last season — without a definite closer.
Granted, they have more time to sort it out this go around, it still would be nice to see a defined closing pitcher slot on the depth chart as opposed to the varying closer-by-committee approach.
Matt Albers and Chad Qualls are by far the two best relievers acquired this offseason, so perhaps the answer lies there.
Albers has never had the best success in late inning/close situations, as over the past three years he’s never posted an ERA under 4.30 in those scenarios. Qualls is a bit different though, as last year alone he posted a sub-2.00 ERA as a closer. However, age starts to become a concern for Qualls.
Like nearly every other spot on the Houston Astros, it appears there will be no answer until Spring Training concludes, and even then, everything is subject to change. It’s just the way it goes on a team in the position of the Astros. Qualls has to be the early favorite given both his history and his previous time in Houston, but again, who knows.