The Astros front office has a lot of decisions to make this offseason when it comes to manning their bullpen in 2020. Is there room for Chris Devenski?
The Houston Astros have four of this past season’s relievers, Joe Smith, Hector Rondon, Will Harris, and Collin McHugh, all on the free agency market. Then you have Brad Peacock, Roberto Osuna, Joe Biagini, and Aaron Sanchez all expected to get salary increases in their arbitration cases, to the tune of approximately $7.5 total. That is, assuming they are all tendered contracts. Should Devenski be in the mix in 2020?
The leader among Astros relievers in innings pitched this year was Chris Devenski. In 2019, he appeared in 60 games and worked 67 innings in relief. Unfortunately, he also led the team with the highest ERA (4.84) of any other relief pitcher with 25 innings or more. Devenski also had the most earned runs surrendered out of the bullpen with 36.
That 4.84 ERA and his 1.30 WHIP are the worst in his four-year career and those two statistics have progressively gotten worse every year he’s pitched in the Major Leagues. Devenski’s ERA+ has also worsened every season, starting with a 182 in his rookie year, now down to 96 in 2019. He gave up more hits per nine innings (9.0) this year than ever.
The lack of faith management had in Devenski showed when he was left off the ALDS and ALCS rosters. They did include him on the roster for the World Series and he proceeded to allow three earned runs in three innings of work.
The front office declined the $2.825 million club option for Devenski, leaning in favor of going the arbitration route. Houston looks to save money in the process, being that he’s projected to get $2 million in his arbitration case.
Considering Devenski’s year after year decline in performance, in my opinion, I think it would be best if the Astros non-tendered him. I think the ballclub could use the expected salary of $2 million on wiser investments for the bullpen, or elsewhere.