Astros Rumors: Even with a full cupboard, are they after Tyler Clippard?
Astros Rumors have them Looking into Tyler Clippard, do they NEED him?
Nick Cafardo claims the Astros have inquired on Tyler Clippard, along with the Tampa Bay Rays and four other teams. It’s hard to know what Astros rumors are real, and what are manufactured to add to a writer’s word count. It’s easy to throw out a random team who could be interested in a player and hope it sticks. To give you an example, recently after the Astros had already signed Doug Fister to plug in a hole in the rotation, there were still reports that had Yovani Gallardo still being linked to the Astros. That ship has already sailed.
One of the Astros chief rivals, despite not being in the same division as them, has greatly improved their bullpen this offseason by trading for Aroldis Chapman. Of course, I am talking about the New York Yankees who already had Dellin Betances and David Robertson, so they are now trying to follow the pattern that the Kansas City Royals have laid out in the past two seasons. The trend for the mega-bullpen is now dominating the minds of general managers everywhere, especially Jeff Luhnow.
While I don’t think Clippard is a realistic option for the Astros, I will humor the idea for a few minutes. Do the Astros need Clippard? The answer is no when they already have Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson, Tony Sipp, Pat Neshek, Will Harris, and Josh Fields along with a long relief guy out of Scott Feldman or Dan Straily. They also have ready for the MLB options in James Hoyt and Jordan Jankowski. They have some other options with Brendan McCurry, Danny Reynolds, and Riley Ferrell, who could be ready at some point this year.
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However, getting a player like Clippard would add another veteran with a history of success pitching at the back end of the bullpen that could make it a top of the line bullpen. However, this would mean that the Astros would not carry a Feldman as long relief or carrying a platoon guy like Matt Duffy. Then you have to ask yourself, why is a guy like Clippard available, let’s take a look.
The 30-year-old reliever was pretty effective in 2015 with a 5-4 record with a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 71 innings pitched. He fell apart towards in September and October but was otherwise solid last season. He throws his fastball in the low 90’s and has a high 70’s changeup that is a good neutralizer. The Astros currently only have one left-handed pitcher in Sipp, so Clippard could be used as a lefty replacement because he holds left-handed hitters to a .136 batting average.
I put it up for the Astros Twitter community to offer the opinions and vote as to whether we NEED Clippard. At the time of publication, it was a pretty even, 52% for and 48% against, but here are a few responses from real fans, not paid actors.
Next: Ken Giles Ranked 7th Best Reliever by MLB Network
I don’t see the Astros going after him, but you can never have too many relievers. For the right price and length, I can see the Astros stocking their bullpen cupboard a little deeper. They might have to compete, but with the Astros starting rotation, I don’t see them needing too many relievers. We will see, but for now, it is speculation.
**Stats from Fangraphs**