With the Astros’ bullpen being somewhat depleted, re-signing left-handed relief pitcher Tony Sipp may just be the answer.
There seems to be a lot of talk about the Astros re-signing Dallas Keuchel or Marwin Gonzalez. Does everyone forget how well Tony Sipp performed out of the bullpen last season? Houston found their solution for a left-handed starter in the Wade Miley acquisition. Now may be the time to get a lefty for the bullpen.
Collin McHugh is apparently moving back into a starting role, Joe Smith is lost for the season due to injury, and Sipp became a free agent. On top of that, one or two of the rookies may be filling the 5th spot in the rotation. That all adds up to a pretty large gap in the bullpen to fill. This may be causing GM Jeff Luhnow to take another look at his priorities.
“We still don’t really know what we’re going to do against lefties — a lot of our guys can get lefties out — but there’s still some thoughts of ‘Do we bring in a lefty, do we bring in someone to replace Joe Smith at least in the interim?,'” Luhnow said.
If Luhnow does decide to bolster the bullpen, he better not wait too long. According to MLB’s ranking of free agents, Tony Sipp is one of the top relievers left, and you have to go pretty far down to find another one that’s left-handed.
Sipp appeared in 54 games for the Astros last year, going 3-1 for the season. He had a career-best 1.86 ERA and had an impressive WHIP of 1.03. Out of the 38.1 total innings pitched, Sipp only allowed one home run while striking out 42 batters. He also had a nice showing in the ALCS against the Red Sox, pitching three innings and giving up one only hit and no earned runs.
Spring Training is sneaking up on us pretty quickly and the movement in the relief pitcher market is heating up. If Jeff Luhnow is considering acquiring bullpen help, bringing Tony Sipp back may be the logical answer.