This Astros pitcher is the next awful contract the team needs to eat and move on from

While it won't be a fun conversation with their accounting department, it's necessary.
Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

It is never easy for any team to willingly eat millions of dollars when a contract goes wrong. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the Houston Astros had to do when they released Jose Abreu earlier this year after his body and bat failed him.

Sometimes things just don't work out, and if a team is looking to contend like the Astros are, the band-aid just has to get ripped off for the sake of the team. However, Abreu's horrid deal may not be the only one Houston needs to cut its losses on.

From the day that Rafael Montero signed a three-year, $34.5 million contract with Houston, it was a very questionable decision by the Astros. Paying a reliever top dollar after a career year that followed many ordinary seasons is almost never a good idea, but that is ultimately the decision that was made.

A year and a half after that deal was done, Montero's contract now looks like an abomination. He wasn't good last year and has looked worse in a lot of ways in 2024, to the point that the Astros may have to admit their mistake and send him packing like they did with Abreu.

Rafael Montero is costing the Astros more than money right now

Now, this isn't a situation where a guy gets more than he is worth and then is getting picked apart for every little thing just because he has all these eyes on him now. He has just been objectively bad. After putting up a 5.08 ERA in 68 appearances last season where he was missing bats but struggling to find the strike zone, 2024 has been another massive regression.

Sure, Montero's 4.32 ERA this season is a marginal improvement over last year, but his strikeout rate has cratered to a career-worst 5.7 K/9 and all of his peripherals including xERA, average exit velocity, whiff rate, barrel %, and hard hit % are among the worst in the league in 2024. It is honestly kind of a miracle that Montero has been as successful as he has been this season.

Making matters worse, the Astros both screwed up the relief market so much with his deal that it may have caused Hector Neris to have unreasonable expectations and head into free agency. He was great in Houston, so why wouldn't he think that he could get a payday like Montero got (narrator: he did not)? On top of that, Houston now has to be feeling forced to at least try and get some value out of Montero, and now he is among the Astros' most used relievers despite being one of their worst options in most situations.

In short, having Montero on the roster is a mess, and the financial side of it should basically be considered a sunk cost. Houston needs actual bullpen depth if they are going to continue their season turnaround and Montero just isn't it. Unfortunately, that process can only begin by getting rid of him altogether.

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