The Houston Astros spent the majority of their offseason filling the enormous void that was their bullpen. They ranked dead last in nearly every single statistical category last year. All credit goes to the Astros and GM Jeff Luhnow – they did all they could to get some veteran relievers that they could rely on to not completely implode when called upon.
Some of the major signings included Chad Qualls, Matt Albers and Jesse Crain. Those are some very reliable relievers that could have easily bolstered the Astros bullpen. The problem has now become injuries.
It was nice to see ineffective relievers like Josh Fields and Raul Valdes removed from their failures at the Major League level and demoted to Triple-A. However, Anthony Bass went down recently, leading to the incredibly ineffective Fields being recalled. Albers has been on and off the DL all season and Crain has yet to pitch at all. Qualls has been moderately effective as one of the only off season signings to still be pitching on the Astros.
The Astros responded admirably by signing left-hander Tony Sipp following the shortcomings of lefties Kevin Chapman and Valdes. Sipp has been unbelievable, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing zero base runners and striking out ten.
The Astros are linked with free agent Todd Coffey, who would also be a wise signing. Coffey is another veteran who could add a lot of depth to a bullpen that, once healthy, could be incredibly effective in preserving games for the young stout pitching staff of the Astros.