Is Tony Sipp as safe on the Astros roster as we thought?
When the Astros sent most of the left-handed relievers competing with Tony Sipp to minors camp, we assumed he would get the job. When we wrote about it, people would respond by saying that he’s struggling. What has he done to earn a roster spot this spring? Our response would be yes with the $6 million he is owed for this season.
Here we are again. The Astros may not feel comfortable with Sipp in the bullpen. He has pitched well at times this spring but blew up versus the Marlins giving up four runs. His ERA is 6.35 is mostly skewed from that one outing, but he has struggled with three walks in 5 2/3 innings.
Sipp has five innings where he pitched well, but maybe they don’t like what they were seeing. Before the game Saturday, A.J. Hinch addressed the situation. According to Oliver Macklin, Hinch has considered going with an all-right-handed bullpen. It’s not the ideal option but Hinch hinted that they did not like Sipp’s consistency.
They still have less than two weeks to make this decision. All eyes will be on Sipp.
Yes, $6 million is a lot of money, but the Astros want to win this year. They could use Chris Devenski against lefties as he held them to a .111 batting average in 2017. Sipp allowed a .247 batting average to both lefties and righties last year.
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Will Harris limits lefties to a .233 batting average. Brad Peacock allows a .249 batting average versus lefties, which is higher than Sipp. What about Joe Smith, he allows a .246 batting average versus lefties. Hector Rondon limits lefties to a .230 batting average. Don’t look for Collin McHugh to be the guy. He allows a .295 batting average.
If the Astros do leave off Sipp, according to Macklin, Hinch said not would be only if another option presents itself. The only options could be James Hoyt or Francis Martes. Neither has had a great spring, so the Astros hope that Sipp proves effective. They would rather get their money worth from him.
They will also monitor the waiver wire for any candidates they could pick up. After returning Anthony Gose to the Rangers, the Astros do have two open spots on this 40-man-roster. If they can’t find the right fit, they could call someone up from the minors. Reymin Guduan and Cionel Perez could be other options.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***