The Astros will face a difficult roster decision with Joe Biagini.
In the battle to fill the Astros bullpen, there will undoubtedly be a few pitchers left out of the picture when the music stops. We’ve already looked at how Chris Devenski‘s chances are shaping up, but things are a little bit more perilous for Joe Biagini.
Biagini’s performance with the Astros following the 2019 trade deadline deal with Toronto was not exactly confidence-inspiring. After pitching to a 3.78 ERA in 50 innings with the Blue Jays, he got hit to the tune of a 7.36 ERA in 13 appearances with Houston with some pretty ugly peripheral stats as well.
Complicating matters is that Biagini is out of minor league options. Having been optioned to the minors in each of the previous three seasons, he now cannot be sent down to the minors without being subject to waivers. Thus the Astros could lose him after getting very little out of him following the trade.
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It doesn’t help that fellow acquisition Aaron Sanchez is already gone after making only four starts for the club. It’s true that Sanchez and Biagini were part of the combined no-hitter shortly following the trade, but that’s basically all the Astros have gotten in exchange for Derek Fisher.
Biagini’s first appearance in Spring Training didn’t inspire much confidence. He allowed two runs on four hits in two innings of work, including a home run. It’s still early, so there’s plenty of time for him to get things turned around, but he’s going to have to earn that bullpen spot if he is to remain on the team.
As for solutions, it’s hard to pinpoint one. Looking at Statcast, there’s not much year-to-year consistency in the results he’s getting from his pitches. His sinker, which he’s used most often the past three years, hasn’t been effective. The rest of his pitches are up and down — effective one year and not effective the next.
It may just take some Brent Strom magic to squeeze a good season out of Biagini. Absent that, it’s hard to see him making the Opening Day roster if he doesn’t stage a pretty quick turnaround. The front office may have a difficult decision to make.