Astros News: Josh Hader (and bullpen) concern, trade with Blue Jays, Jose Urquidy

Is it time to panic yet?
Houston Astros reliever Josh Hader
Houston Astros reliever Josh Hader / Jack Gorman/GettyImages

The word most often associated with the Houston Astros this season has been panic; but not in the way you would think. Despite the team's horrendous start to the 2024 season, the Houston faithful have been told not to panic.

That's a nice thought, but over a month into the season, some of the trends that Astros fans have seen since Opening Day have continued, and at this point, there's no end in sight. Fans throughout Space City are officially worried, and rightfully so. The Astros biggest offseason signing seems to be a bust, and Houston's entire bullpen is on life support at the moment.

Astros News: Josh Hader (and bullpen) concerns

Josh Hader became the richest reliever in the history of major league baseball this past offseason when the left-hander signed a five-year, $95 million contract with the Astros. Houston had just gotten word that Kendall Graveman would be out for the year following surgery, so the front office swung for the fences and landed the top closer on the market.

But Hader has been a disaster since landing in H-Town. After blowing the game on Sunday night against the Seattle Mariners, Hader is sporting a ridiculous 6.14 ERA and has been abysmal against right-handed hitters this season. Opposing right-handed bats have tattooed Hader to the tune of a .300/.378/.475 line.

But Hader is far from the only problem in the Astros bullpen. The Houston relief corps is 5-11 on the season with a 4.44 ERA. Astros relievers have allowed 16 round trippers this season, which is sixth most in all of baseball. Outside of Tayler Scott and Seth Martinez, the Astros bullpen has struggled mightily. The team's three best relievers (Hader, Brian Abreu, and Ryan Pressly) have a combined 5.32 ERA. Yikes!

Astros News: Houston swings trade with Blue Jays

The Astros made a small transaction over the weekend. When Joey Loperfido made his major league debut last week, Houston needed to make a corresponding move in order to free up a spot on the 40-man roster. The Astros decided to designate reliever Joel Kuhnel for assignment.

Houston then had a week to work out a trade or release the right-hander. The Toronto Blue Jays stepped forward and worked out a deal for the hard-throwing right-hander. The Blue Jays sent cash considerations to Houston in order to complete the trade. Toronto then optioned Kuhnel to Triple-A Buffalo where the reliever begin his tenure with his new ball club.

Astros News: Jose Urquidy injury update

Astros GM Dana Brown gave an injury update on two of Houston's starting pitchers. Brown said that the goal is to have Christian Javier back on the bump for the upcoming series agains the Detroit Tigers, while Jose Urquidy will need two or three rehab starts before returning to the active roster.

The 'Stros have been without Javier for a couple weeks after the right-hander suffered a minor neck injury, while Urquidy has been sidelined since the season began with a forearm strain. Houston badly needs both starters back in the rotation sooner rather than later.

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