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Astros: Roberto Osuna’s time in Houston could be finished

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 19: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after a rehab session during Summer Workouts at Minute Maid Park on July 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 19: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after a rehab session during Summer Workouts at Minute Maid Park on July 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Roberto Osuna could have thrown his last pitch for the Houston Astros.

As if the injury woes for the Houston Astros weren’t bad enough, they could be without their All-Star closer for the rest of the season. FOX 26’s Mark Berman is reporting that Roberto Osuna may need to undergo Tommy John surgery, at least based on his initial diagnosis. The pitcher is seeking a second opinion, but things clearly aren’t looking good.

If Osuna does need Tommy John surgery, the procedure would have him miss the remainder of this season and most, if not all, of 2021. Pitchers generally need at least a year to get back to being major league ready, but it can sometimes take a little longer for them to round back into form. This puts Osuna’s future in Houston in doubt.

He is under team control via arbitration for one more season before reaching free agency after the 2021 campaign. If he goes under the knife and ends up missing next season, the Astros would have no reason to keep him around. In all likelihood, they would non-tender him this winter.

Osuna was set to earn $10 million this season prior to it being shortened to 60 games, so he would probably make that much through arbitration in 2021, even if he’s injured. The Astros have fairly deep pockets, but it makes no sense to pay that much money to a guy who won’t pitch and will be hitting free agency after the season anyway.

Besides, they have better uses for that payroll space, namely George Springer. It might not be a bad idea to try bringing Michael Brantley back as well, and that $10 million would be a nice chunk of one of those player’s salaries. If Osuna needs Tommy John surgery, the Astros should just bid him farewell.

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Not Quite a Fond Farewell

This would put an end to one of the more controversial chapters in the franchise’s history. We all remember when former GM Jeff Luhnow ignored common sense and acquired Osuna when the pitcher was in the midst of a domestic violence suspension. His talent was never in question, but most other teams wouldn’t touch him with all that baggage.

To his credit, he seems to have stayed out of trouble since then. The fact that former Assistant GM Brandon Taubman was a complete moron isn’t Osuna’s fault. He pitched to a 2.45 ERA with 51 saves in the regular season, but the postseason was a different story. Osuna struggled to a 5.06 ERA over his two playoff runs in Houston. Most fans won’t be too sad to see him go.

He’s still only 25 years old, so he’ll have plenty of time to recover from the procedure and return to form. Whether another team will give him a shot is the question, but I would venture to guess that someone will. I just hope it’s not the Astros. It’s time to move on.

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