Jerome Williams (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
The Houston Astros and Jerome Williams have agreed to terms on a one year contract. I think it was a prudent, low risk signing signing that also does not offer too much of a reward.
After coming out of the gates strong to begin his major league career in 2003 with the San Francisco Giants, Williams quickly saw his career go down hill and the right-hander spent three seasons (2008-2010) solely in the minor leagues. Williams had a renaissance of sorts in 2011 with the Angels going 4-0 in 10 games with a 3.68. He then proceeded to spend the next two seasons as a useful part of LA’s staff shuttling between the bullpen and the starting rotation and compiling ERA’s of 4.58 and 4.57.
While Williams is not a pitcher who will dazzle you, he is a useful veteran arm that will come in handy for Houston. Over the last two seasons Williams pitched in 137.2 and 169.1 innings respectively. Also, bringing in the 32-year old will give Bo Porter another veteran arm to utilize and this creates some much needed competition across the entire pitching staff.
However there is one problem. The Astros do not have room for Williams on their 40-man roster. This means that before the signing is officially announced, one player must be traded, put through waivers, released, or designated for assignment.
Based on the current composition of the roster, my guess is that a pitcher will be moved to make room for Williams. The name that jumps off for me is Raul Valdes. Houston claimed him off waivers very early in the off-season, but the 36-year old reliever injured his knee in winter ball and is now expected to miss 4-6 weeks. This likely takes him out of consideration for the Opening Day roster and with the subsequent addition of Darin Downs, Valdes could be considered expendable. The Astros also have Kevin Chapman from last season who had success.
Another option to be moved is Colin McHugh who was just added by the Astros and has yet to pitch in a game for Houston.