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2021 MLB Signings: Houston Astros Add Bullpen Help

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The Houston Astros have finally made a small splash in the 2021 MLB signings by adding a pair of relievers to their bullpen.

With the news breaking over the last couple of days that two of the top free-agent relievers had signed with new teams, those being Liam Hendriks signing with the Chicago White Sox and Blake Treinen re-signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros needed to go and make a before it was too late, and they did! The Houston Astros were able to go out and get free-agents Ryne Stanek and Pedro Baez.

2021 MLB Signings: Ryne Stanek

The Houston Astros have been waiting patiently to see how this 2021 offseason plays out due to the pandemic. Immediately following the end of the 2020 season, the Astros released closer Roberto Osuna. Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock; both became free-agents.

The Astros needed to shore up the bullpen’s back end, and they did so by signing Ryne Stanek. Stanek was drafted in the 29th round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. Astros general manager James Click is most familiar with Stanek given that Click was in the Rays front office when Stanek was drafted. What makes this signing so unique is the fact the Astros did not have to spend a lot to sign Stanek. Terms of the deal have Stanek signing a one-year deal worth $1.1 million.

Stanek was called up by the Rays in 2017 and was primarily used as an opener for them. In 2019, Stanek was traded to the Miami Marlins, where he struggled with the Marlins. Stanek has a career 4.00 ERA in 173.1 innings pitched. Although Stanek has often struggled in his young career, Stanek comes to the Houston Astros, where pitchers thrive.

If there is one thing Astros pitching coach Brent Strom can do is figure out how to use analytics to get the most of his pitchers. Stanek should have no problems fitting into this bullpen full of young arms with lots of potentials.

2021 MLB Signings: Pedro Baez

The Houston Astros missed out on the Liam Hendriks sweepstakes, but they made up for it with the signing of free-agent reliever Pedro Baez. Baez has spent the last seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As it currently sits, the terms of the deal would range around two-years, $12.5 million with a $500K signing bonus along other incentives. Baez would be coming to the Astros with a career 3.03 ERA and 369 strikeouts.

Baez has been a stud since he made his debut with the Dodgers back in 2014. With a fastball that ranges in the upper nineties, Strom will be able to work his magic with Baez, which means we should see a couple of more ticks on the fastball. With Baez coming to the Astros, this means the bullpen will have a reliable reliever that can come in the late innings with the opportunity to close out games. Something the Astros struggled with in 2020.

2021 MLB Signings: Final Thoughts

The Houston Astros needed to get on the signings this offseason. They had been quiet until this week, and this might have the gameplan from the start. Adding bullpen depth was key going into the 2021 season.

By adding Stanek and Baez, the Astros still have room if they want to go out and try to add more depth to the bullpen. Brad Hand, Trevor Rosenthal, and Alex Colome are all still out there for the taking. General manager James Click finally made some moves, and this should bode well for the Astros as we get closer to Spring Training.

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.