Even after signing free-agent relievers Pedro Baez and Ryne Stanek, the Houston Astros are not ruling out adding additional bullpen help, general manager James Click told reporters, including Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
“It’s something that I think all of us would like to have, and it can certainly make you feel better about your bullpen than if you don’t have someone who maybe has done it in the past,” Click said. “However, there are always guys who step up into that role every year. There are new closers every year, and our young talent on this roster did an impressive job last season in stepping up in some roles that … I don’t think that we thought they might be ready for.”
The Astros have expressed interest in relievers Brad Hand and Alex Colome, though it is unclear if they have the money to land either player after signing Baez to a two-year, $12-14 million deal. But Click’s comments suggest that the team continues to eye a closer, so another high-end reliever should not be ruled out at this time.
It makes sense, given that Baez does not have closing experience and that the Astros have no clear option available for the ninth inning. Currently, the team has seven relievers firmly in the picture for their bullpen with Ryan Pressley, Baez, Stanek, Joe Smith, Brooks Raley, Blake Taylor and Enoli Paredes.
They have money to spend to further upgrade the bullpen, as evidenced by their desire to sign both Liam Hendriks and Blake Treinen to multi-year contracts. But Click and the Astros must be calculated in their pursuit of yet another reliever while the outfield is missing all three of their starters from the 2020 season.
Click has shown that he is not afraid to address the bullpen in big ways, especially with the Astros entering the 2021 season with a young rotation and Justin Verlander out for most of the year. And all indications are that he is prepared to strike again if the right opportunity presents itself. Stay tuned.