Astros Bullpen: Should the Astros chase LHP Travis Wood
The Astros could use another left-handed reliever, would Travis Wood be a reasonable option?
Have you ever voted for a politician, and they won, but you later regretted voting for them? This is something that the Houston Astros are dealing with right now. During the 2014-15 audition period, Tony Sipp was a great waiver claim by Jeff Luhnow. During the 2015 postseason, Sipp was the most reliable reliever for skipper A.J. Hinch. Sipp had plenty of suitors after his 2015 performance, but he chose to return to Houston for unfinished business.
However, the 2016 season was not kind to Sipp. After his astounding 1.99 ERA in 2015, Sipp’s ERA ballooned to 4.95. He lost the faith of Astros fans who started having the Chad Qualls effect when he entered the games. Relievers tend to be streaky and prone to down seasons. Pat Neshek had a poor 2015 but improved in 2016.
Dallas Keuchel was not himself in 2016 following his extreme workload in 2015. This could be the case with Sipp as well? Looking at his appearances and innings, his 2015 workload was below his early career. We don’t know what led to the poor performance last year, but he did sign a three-year deal for $18 million. We have him for the next two years.
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Another left-handed option?
Sipp will be on the roster until he proves that he can no longer perform. Here is hoping that he bounces back in 2017. However, the Astros could go out and sign a veteran left-handed reliever in Travis Wood. Yes, that’s the same guy who pitched for the World Series winning Chicago Cubs. Wood might be undervalued, but he is coming off a dominating season out of the bullpen. Wood had a 4-0 record with a 2.95 ERA while striking out 47 batters in 61 innings.
The one caveat is that Wood is looking to become a starting pitcher again. As a bullpen arm, he would be cheaper to sign than as a starting pitcher. There have not been any rumors linking Houston and Wood, but he would make sense. The problem is that we would have to give a contract similar to Sipp’s. With the move to the bullpen, Wood has added an mph to all his pitches, fastball 90 mph.
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The Astros currently have Kevin Chapman, Ashur Tolliver, and Reymin Guduan who could fill that role cheaper. Wood is getting interests from ten teams per ESPN. Whether the Stros are one of them is yet to be seen. Could the team sign him to pitch him in the rotation? That seems like such an Astros move. If they sign him, though, he does bring the playoff experiences from last year.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs***