The Astros have some holes to fill in the bullpen and could use a left-hander.
With Will Harris, Joe Smith and Hector Rondon all hitting free agency, the Astros bullpen is in need of reinforcements before next season. Since they’ll need one or two arms from outside the organization, this could be an opportune time to add a left-hander, which they lacked for most of this past season.
The Astros front office might disagree with me, and in fact has often stated its view that having a left-hander isn’t all that important. But we saw how much difficulty the Astros had with left-handed slugger Juan Soto in the World Series. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a reliable southpaw available to get a few key outs against him?
The Astros currently have just three left-handed pitchers on the 40-man roster: Kent Emanuel, Cionel Perez and Framber Valdez. Emanuel was just added to the roster and has no major league experience, while Perez and Valdez haven’t exactly established themselves in their time in the bigs. Banking on one of these guys to become the solid lefty the team needs may not be wise.
There’s always the possibility the team acquires a left-hander via trade, and that can’t be ruled out. But this exercise is just taking a look at which free agents are available and what the Astros chances might be to bring the top names aboard.
The candidates are broken into two groups: the premier arms and the buy-low veteran candidates. Unfortunately the market is weak on premier arms and has plenty of buy-low candidates.