Astros News: Matt Barnes buzz, Jacob deGrom return, former Dodger lands in AL West

Might the Astros be tempted to add another arm to the bullpen?
Miami Marlins pitcher Matt Barnes
Miami Marlins pitcher Matt Barnes / Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/GettyImages

The Houston Astros have to feel pretty good about the back end of their bullpen after signing Josh Hader to a record-setting deal. If the Astros have the lead late in a game, manager Joe Espada now has Hader, Bryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressly to call upon.

But Houston may need some reinforcements to help take care of those pesky middle innings when the Astros need a reliable arm in order to help maintain a lead or keep the game close. While Hader's addition will certainly help, Hector Neris recently signed a deal with Chicago Cubs, and Phil Maton and Ryne Stanek are still on the open market.

Perhaps the solution is veteran right-hander Matt Barnes. After a troubling performance last year, it appears as though Barnes is looking to return to the mound in 2024 after a hip injury cut his 2023 season short.

Are the Astros a fit for free agent reliever Matt Barnes?

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, Barnes will hold a workout and pitch for teams within the next week. Barnes played for the Miami Marlins last season, but only appeared in 24 games and posted a ghastly 5.48 ERA.

Barnes was an All-Star in 2021 with the Red Sox. The right-hander saved 24 games for Boston that season and struck out 84 batters over 54.2 innings of work. Obviously, Houston's interest in Barnes would be for a middle relief role, though.

Hader can't replace all of the innings that the trio of Neris, Maton, and Stanek covered in 2023, so perhaps signing the 33-year-old Barnes to a one-year deal would be a wise investment on the part of Astros GM Dana Brown.

Former Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood moves to the AL West

Alex Wood must love the Bay Area. The veteran left-hander, who's spent the last three years with the San Francisco Giants, has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Oakland A's. Yes, the A's are in Oakland for at least one more season.

In 2023, Wood started 12 games for the Giants while also appearing out of the San Francisco bullpen on 17 other occasions. The southpaw has a career 3.74 ERA, but injuries have consistently dogged Wood's steps throughout his time in the major leagues.

Astros fans might remember Wood from the 2017 World Series, when he held the Astros to just one run on one hit and two walks over 7.2 innings.

Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer reveal possible return dates with Rangers

Sorry, Astros fans, but it seems as if both Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer will be back on the bump for the Texas Rangers sooner than expected in 2024. During the Rangers Fan Fest this past week, the former Cy Young Award winners gave updates on their health heading into the upcoming season.

deGrom underwent Tommy John surgery last year and will begin throwing this spring. However, he's not expected to fully return to the active roster until later this summer. As for Scherzer, his estimated return date is sometime in June or July. The Rangers' trade deadline acquisition from last season suffered a back injury during the team's World Series run last October.

If the Rangers can stay afloat for much of the year, they could be getting powerful reinforcements at the right time.