Everyone knew that the Astros were seeking to upgrade their bullpen. Jeff Luhnow mentioned it as the Astros top priority. Virtually every top reliever was linked to the Astros in one way or another. Andrew Miller and David Robertson, the top two relievers on the market, were linked the to Astros before signing with the Yankees and White Sox respectively. Luhnow and the Astros felt as though they were being used by these players, and that neither actually wanted to come to Houston.
However, those two non-signings may have turned out to be a gift. Instead of acquiring one reliever, the Astros were able to go out and sign both Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson. The cost for both pitchers was slightly more than the Astros would have paid for either Miller or Robertson.
While Andrew Miller and David Robertson have more name value than either Neshek or Gregerson, they were not going to fix the Astros bullpen. Quite frankly, the ills of the bullpen went much deeper than bringing in one elite reliever. Doing so would have been the baseball equivalent of putting expensive rims on a Yugo. Yes, it’s a nice feature, but the overall product is still terrible.
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Instead, the Astros ended up making the right move, even if it was not their first or second choice. By bringing in Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson, the Astros suddenly have a deeper bullpen. Added to Chad Qualls and Tony Sipp, the Astros bullpen is four men deep. With several solid relievers still available, and the Astros still having money to spend, the weakness of 2013 and 2014 could turn into a strength in 2015.
Sometimes, the best moves that a team makes are the ones that do not happen. In this case, the Astros may actually be better off by having their third and fourth choices signing on, instead of spending the money on Miller and Robertson. A deeper bullpen should be a vastly better one than what the Astros are used to seeing.