Rafael Soriano Francisco Rodriguez on Astros Radar?

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Evan Drellich reported Astros officials have met with Scott Boras to discuss some of his clientele. No, not Max Scherzer.

Well, Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano are two of Boras’ clients, according to MLBTradeRumors. Yes, the Astros have just added two huge pieces to their bullpen in Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek, and technically have a closer in Chad Qualls, but Soriano and Rodriguez have a proven track record of getting the job done in the ninth.

The buzz is around Gregerson possibly being asked to work the ninth in 2015, with his contract having incentives related to closing duties, but Gregerson does not have a great resume when it comes to closing out games. In six seasons, Gregerson has managed one year where he saved more games than he blew, and that was in 2012 with San Diego. That year, he closed the door on nine games, while blowing the lead four times. In his career, he has 19 saves, and has blown 32, for a save percentage of 37.25. The argument can be made that those numbers are skewed because Gregerson has primarily been a setup man, but in 2014 he was asked to take over the ninth for Oakland, and saved three of eleven chances. I’m not saying he can’t, I’m saying there should be a plan b.

Neshek has saved six games in twenty opportunities in his career. Obviously, at least kicking the tires on Soriano or Rodriguez makes sense.

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  • Rafael Soriano is about to turn 35, which is the reason no club has jumped on him yet, but if the Astros could sign him to a short-term deal, it could be beneficial to both sides. Soriano will give you 60+ innings, and an ERA around 3.00, accumulating ERAs of 2.26, 3.11 and 3.19 each of the last three seasons. In that same time frame, the man who dislikes his shirt tucked in has saved 117 games and blown 17 for a save percentage of 87.3.

    Chad Qualls over his career is much less established, and is a year older than Soriano. Qualls pitched below his career average last season (3.33, career average ERA of 3.76), while Soriano pitched above his career average (2.85), coming in with an ERA of 3.19. The likelihood of Qualls repeating his 2014 performance may be slim.

    Before we come to a conclusion, we should probably go over K-Rod first. Ryan Gonzalez, one of our staff writers, has been clamoring for K-Rod to sign with Houston. Let’s see if he’s a fit.

    Rodriguez is younger (will be 33 in January) and has a better career ERA (2.73) than both Qualls and Soriano. His career save percentage is a tad lower than Soriano (84.6 to 84.8), but he has also had more opportunities. If the Astros are looking to add a bonafide closer, K-Rod may be the better fit, due to his age. If the difference in price is dramatic, then Soriano could ultimately suffice as well. MLBTradeRumors projects Soriano signing a deal for 2 years/$12M, and Rodriguez at 2 years/$14M, yet both are Scott Boras clients, so who the heck knows?

    However, the bullpen is just one of the issues that has plagued the Astros over the years. They still need to plug a few other holes, and with roughly $8M left in their budget, going after a closer could eat up the rest of their cash.

    What do you think the Astros should do? Go after an established closer, or wing it with the three options they have now (or Josh Fields) and try and plug another hole?

    Next: The Astros Should Sign K-Rod

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