Astros: 3 options for left-handed relievers as Blake Taylor struggles

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Andrew Chafin
Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Astros have a plethora of center fielders both in Houston and in Sugar Land, plus other assets that could be used as bait for a deal.  Let’s explore some options.

Brad Hand signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in the offseason and is pitching well in the National League.

In 18 appearances, Hand is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA. A three-pitch hurler, Hand relies on his slider almost 50% of the time and opponents are batting only .182 on the pitch which has a 30.3% put away rate.

Hand has not given up a run in his last eight appearances, but walks are a huge concern as he’s in the third percentile in the league in walks. Not good at all.

The good news is that Hand is not a longterm commitment as his contract expires at the end of the season. The bad news is he walks hitters and hasn’t been particularly effective at getting left-handers out.

Andrew Chafin signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Tigers for $13 million that would leave the Astros on the hook for the rest of 2022 and all $7 million for 2023.

Chafin’s had 12 appearances, totaling only 9.1 innings on the season but has been equally effective against batters on both sides of the plate. Also a three pitch pitcher, Chafin’s put away pitch has been his slider, which he throws 26% of the time and opponents are hitting .133 on.

Chafin has only faced 40 batters on the season, but the good news is he’s only walked two.

As long as we’re dreaming here, let’s include Taylor Rogers in this equation. With the Padres a game and a half behind the Dodgers, they’re not trading their closer right now and with Fernando Tatis, Jr. coming back relatively soon, this may be a no-go for the duration.

But the Padres, with or without Tatis, Jr., have a history of fading down the stretch and Rogers is a free agent at season’s end.  Even if it’s not logical in the moment, things can change and we should never say never.

When you compare Rogers’ salary ($7.3 million) and production to the others in this analysis, he stands out as the obvious choice. Batters are hitting a puny .077 against Roger’s devastating slider that includes 14.8 inches of break on average.

Rogers has 16 saves in 17 opportunities, a 0.92 WHIP against lefties and an even lower WHIP against right handers. We’ve presented two mediocre option and one that seems like a dream.  There has to be something else, right?