The Houston Astros have had a disappointing offseason, to say the least. With less than 100 days to go before Opening Day, they've signed one player to a major league deal despite still having bullpen and rotation concerns. The real cascade of starting pitcher signings has yet to begin — most are waiting on Yoshinobu Yamamoto to make a decision — but pitchers in the relief market are slowly starting to come off the board.
On Dec. 20, the Astros gave out a minor league contract to a struggling journeyman reliever, Tayler Scott, their fourth minor league contract of the offseason. Scott joins Wander Suero, Brailyn Marquez, and Kervin Castro, all relief pitchers, as the newest members of the Astros farm system. Houston, who has what is widely considered to be one of the worst minor league systems in baseball, is clearly looking to bolster at least their Triple-A affiliate and give them some potential call-up options in 2024.
Astros sign former Dodgers and Orioles pitcher Tayler Scott in questionable bullpen move
Scott, 31, was drafted by the Cubs in 2011 and stayed in their organization until 2015. He's jumped around to almost half the league since then, at both the major and minor league levels: Brewers, Rangers, Mariners, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Dodgers, Red Sox, A's, and now the Astros, with stints in independent leagues and in NPB sprinkled in.
To say that Scott has looked promising in the past would be a lie; in 46 major league innings over three seasons, he has a career 9.00 ERA. Most recently, he pitched eight innings for Oakland for a 3.38 ERA, which may be what the Astros are basing their hope for him on. He gave up 11 hits during those eight innings but was apparently able to stop the bleeding.
His minor league numbers are more promising, which could point to something just not having clicked with other teams in the majors. His minor league record, dating back to 2011, is a little bit of a doozy, but his career 688 2/3 innings for a 3.78 ERA and 556 strikeouts is at least an okay record to point back to in order to try to justify this signing.