The Houston Astros came into the offseason with bolstering the bullpen in mind. They have done just that, but still have work to do. Early during the offseason, the Astros signed Peter Moylan to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Just before the Winter Meetings, they added Chad Qualls, who will make a nice addition to the back end of the bullpen. During the Winter Meetings, they traded their first round pick in the Rule 5 draft for Anthony Bass from the San Diego Padres, who could pitch out of the pen or the rotation. Earlier today, Monday the 16th, the Astros signed Matt Albers. If you’re keeping tabs, that’s the second reliever from the 2007 the Astros have signed this offseason.
The Astros brought Albers back, not because he is from Houston, though he is, or because he has Houston ties, but because he fits the mold that General Manager wants his pitchers to have. Albers had a pretty extreme ground ball percentage (GB%) last season (63.8%), and we all know Luhnow loves those ground ball pitchers. In fact, lets take a look at the recent acquisitions and their GB% based on last season’s stats. Scott Feldman’s GB% last year 49.6%, Anthony Bass’ GB% was 45%, Chad Qualls’ GB% was 63.3%. In Peter Moylan’s last full season, 2010, his GB% was 67.8%.
Given that the Astros are actually spending real money this offseason, I don’t think the Astros are finished signing relievers. In fact, I think the next pitcher the Astros sign is a familiar name in Jose Veras. Veras, as most of know, was apart of the Astros before they traded him to the Detroit Tigers. During the Winter Meeting, the hot rumor surrounding Jose Veras was that he wanted to return to Houston. In fact, they were discussing a contract, but I haven’t heard anything more than that. I, for one, hope the Astros have continued talks with Veras and end up bringing him back.