June 22, 2024

Former Blue Jays Reliever Would Bring Big Arm To Astros

In trying to find a fit for their bullpen, the Houston Astros could turn to a former Toronto and St. Louis reliever who is coming off a solid season.

The Houston Astros have bullpen help on their mind this offseason, as several of their set-up men for closer Ryan Pressly are free agents.

That list includes Hector Neris, who opted out of his deal, along with Ryne Stanek and Phil Maton. None should be ruled out for a return to Houston. But, they get to test the market.

It’s also likely the Astros are all right with losing some of them. All three are at least 30 years old and the past two years they’ve been part of one of the most used bullpens in baseball.

Fresh blood might be in order to support Bryan Abreu, who at the moment is the primary set-up man under contract.

Recently, The Athletic attempted to find a free-agent fit for each team. It previously attempted to do this right after the World Series and then updated the piece in anticipation of the winter meetings next week in Nashville, a time when many free agent deals and trades get done.

Given the need, the fit here was another bullpen arm to supplement Pressly and Abreu, one that can set up and close and one that has not yet hit that 30-year-old threshold — Jordan Hicks — saying that adding to the bullpen is the Astros’ primary goal:

Hicks would be a smart acquisition in that regard as he could pitch important medium- to high-leverage innings for them in the sixth, seventh and eighth. He is finally healthy and back to throwing in the triple digits. The Blue Jays acquired him from the Cardinals at the trade deadline last season and he pitched well for Toronto, posting a 2.63 ERA in 25 appearances with four saves. Overall this year, he logged a 3.29 ERA in 66 appearances with 81 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings and 12 saves.

In five seasons Hicks is 11-21 with a 3.85 ERA. The Blue Jays did trade for Hicks at the deadline in an effort to bolster their bullpen for a playoff run, one that ended with a sweep at the hands of Minnesota in the AL Wild Card playoffs. He’s never been leaned on as a full-time closer before, as he has just 32 career saves. But he strikes out nearly a hitter an inning.

But, the Astros could potentially groom him to replace Pressly, who is under contract in 2024 but has a mutual option with the Astros in 2025. That option would be a $14 million option with a $2 million buyout.

Astros' Bryan Abreu's suspension upheld for hitting Adolis García, but  won't be served until 2024 season - CBSSports.com

Hicks might be one of the best young options out there, and per The Athletic it may only cost a team a three-year deal worth $30 million, which is less than Pressly is expected to make with his option.

It’s a move that could help the Astros in 2024 and beyond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *