Houston Astros pitcher Josh James will miss the start of the 2021 season after undergoing hip surgery.
A spot has opened up in the Houston Astros 2021 bullpen after it was announced that righthander Josh James underwent hip surgery on Friday. The surgery was to repair a labral tear in his left hip, and the recovery timeline is six to eight months, which means it’s unlikely he will be ready for the start of next season.
James had a pretty disastrous 2020. He started the season in the rotation but got torched, giving up seven earned runs in six innings over two starts while walking 11 batters. He moved to the bullpen and continued to struggle before initially injuring his hip in August, causing him to go on the Injured List.
He put together a nice run in relief when he returned in September, but he again struggled in the postseason, allowing four earned runs in four innings of work. James is expected to be back sometime in the first half of 2021, but the Astros will have to do without him for at least the first part of next season.
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For those wanting the team to move on from James, that’s just not going to happen. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until next offseason, so the Astros can retain him for 2021 on a cheap salary. He’s got an incredible arm, and though he’s been maddeningly inconsistent, you don’t give up on a talent like that unless you either can’t afford him or don’t have a roster spot for him. We’re not at that point yet.
Ryan Pressly, Enoli Paredes and Blake Taylor are set to play key roles in the 2021 bullpen. Andre Scrubb should be in the mix, and the Astros have a $2 million option on Brooks Raley they should exercise. But Roberto Osuna’s status for next year is uncertain, and Chris Devenski is a non-tender candidate. With James out, that leaves a couple of spots up for grabs.
There are some options on the free agent market. Liam Hendriks, Blake Treinen, Trevor Rosenthal, Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria, Tyler Clippard and Mark Melancon are some of the names who could fit in this Houston bullpen, depending on the price of course. GM James Click may not have a lot of money to throw at the bullpen with two spots open in the outfield, but he could probably snag one or two solid relievers for a decent price.