Houston Astros: Two potential middle reliever options in free agency

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Brad Peacock #41 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the sixth inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Brad Peacock #41 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the sixth inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Astros need more solid arms in the bullpen, especially when it the middle innings. Here are several candidates to help them out in that category.

Right now, the Houston Astros need bullpen help. Reliable veterans Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski are gone. My colleague Andrew Gleinser broke the news last month on what happened to Peacock and what the future holds for him. Chris Devenski had surgery earlier this year and his future is uncertain with the club. So where does that leave the Astros with middle inning relievers?

Right now, the Astros have Brooks Raley, Blake Taylor, Joe Smith, Enoli Paredes and Andre Scrubb in the rotation. Everyone but Joe Smith was a rookie this past year and some veterans in the bullpen would provide much-needed help.

I’m here to tell you who I think the Astros should go after in free agency to help their young bullpen become a unit that can help them become much more competitive.

The first player I would target is someone who has been around awhile and that is Mark Melancon.

Melancon went 2-1 this year with a 2.78 ERA during the season and in the postseason with Atlanta, he threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings. According to Sports Illustrated, he’s one of the best pitchers on the market because of his ability to generate ground balls and would provide some veteran help to a young rotation.

Sports Illustrated recently submitted their best free agents of 2020 and their predictions for where the free agents might land. Jeremy Jeffress was picked to go to the Astros and I can see why. His numbers from last season are a stellar 4-1, 8 SV, 23 1/3 IP, 1.54 ERA, 19.3 K%, 13.6 BB%, 1.2 WAR. Here is his scouting report from the article:

"Jeffress was one of the best bargains of last offseason. The 2018 All-Star signed with Chicago for $850,000 after a down year in Milwaukee and ended up being the team’s most reliable bullpen arm. It must be said, however, that a little bit of luck was on his side. Opposing hitters were held to a microscopic .161 BABIP and Jeffress got away with below-average strikeout and walk rates. The difference between his ERA (1.54) and FIP (4.09) was the fifth-largest among relievers. But dependable relievers have never been more valuable and Jeffress has a long track record of success compared to most of his peers."

I think if the Astros go after these two players, they would help out the bullpen tremendously. Their bullpen was one of the weaker points in 2020 and if these two players sign in Houston, the bullpen could quickly go from a weakness to a strength.

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