Could the Astros Be Interested in Seth Maness?
By Cody Poage
The Astros could be one of the teams in on a former St. Louis Cardinals reliever.
Per Derrick Goold of St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Astros were one of the teams to send a scout to observe right-handed pitcher Seth Maness. The former St. Louis Cardinal reliever pitched in front of multiple scouts varying across the league as he attempts to make a comeback from a torn UCL and subsequent surgery.
Normally this wouldn’t be a story to generate much interest in February. But the fact that Maness had his surgery in August of this past year is definitely noteworthy. The surgery in question was noted by Goold’s article to be a “primary repair”. I recommend you check out the St. Louis Dispatch article in full for a thorough background on the story. But essentially this “primary repair” should allow the 28-year old to pitch in 2017.
So why should the Astros be interested in Maness? Isn’t the bullpen already deep enough?
There is no doubt that Houston’s bullpen is one of the deepest in baseball. Headlined by the trio of Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson, and Will Harris, there may not be a better unit in the game. But as the old adage goes, “You can never have too much pitching”.
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When healthy, Maness can be an effective option out of the bullpen. When you consider the times that the former Cardinal actually pitched, he was having an efficient 2016 season before the torn UCL took place.
31.2 innings pitched
3.41 ERA/3.71 FIP
The statistic that jumps out the most should be the 57.4% GB%. Don’t forget that the Astros have a history of liking pitchers that can generate plenty of ground balls. Look up the ground ball percentages for Gregerson and Harris when you get a chance.
However, it is likely a long shot that the Astros land Maness for a couple of different reasons.
One reason being the sheer number of teams that were scouting him in his showcase a few days ago. Per Goold’s article, there were “at least 18 scouts representing 16 major-league teams”. The odds just don’t appear to be in the Astros favor.
Secondly, Houston would likely have a difficult time giving Maness the meaningful innings that pitchers usually want. With Giles, Gregerson, and Harris along with a potential slew of arms, the Astros would have to be creative to give a pitcher like Maness consistent innings when he is healthy. And the fact that there is roughly half the league showing interest, Houston may not have a great sales pitch.
The last reason is simple Maness being an injury risk. The procedure he had seems to be a relatively new one. It could wind up being a successful decision to avoid the full complications of Tommy John surgery and the subsequent recovery timetable. However, it is still a risk.
Next: Astros Update: The Health of Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers
Overall, I hope the Astros can land a pitcher of Maness’ caliber. He would be a low-risk, high-reward acquisition, and Houston could ease him along in 2017. Add the fact that he would be under club control in the foreseeable future then this becomes an awfully tempting flier to pick up.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**