The Astros locked up one of their key relievers for the foreseeable future.
There is a large pending free agent class in Houston right now. Once the 2019 season ends, the Astros will have to determine whether or not to resign the likes of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, Wade Miley, Joe Smith, Hector Rondon, and Robinson Chirinos.
Probably with that in mind, the club was able to extend one of the best relievers, who was also scheduled to be a free agent next offseason: Ryan Pressly.
Acquired last July in exchange for minor league prospects Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino, Pressly helped shore up the bullpen in a major way for the Astros. In fact, Houston arguably found another diamond in the rough with the 30-year old right-hander.
With the Twins
47 2/3 IP, 33.2% K, 9.1% BB, 0.94 HR/9, 3.40 ERA, 2.95 FIP
With the Astros
23 1/3 IP, 38.1% K, 3.6% BB, 0.39 HR/9, 0.77 ERA, 1.49 FIP
While Pressly was already a quality reliever with the Twins, he took the next step in Houston, partially thanks to an increased usage of his curveball. Really, he took a step into top reliever status.
Curveball usage and results with the Twins
24.6%, .289 BA, .329 wOBA, 3204 RPM
Curveball usage and results with the Astros
36.9%, .069 BA, .094 wOBA, 3259 RPM
Based on the results above, it is easy to see why the Astros devoted $17.5 million over the next two seasons to Pressly. There is also a vesting option in the deal, as noted here by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Rome also notes that the contract is the largest for a non-closer. Overall, it looks like a good deal for both sides, especially with the current window of contention for Houston.