|A Return, if not prodigal
The official website reports this evening that the Astros have signed a lefthanded reliever by the name of Trever Miller to a 1.3 million dollar deal. Miller was 5 - 2 with a 4.02 during an earlier stint with Houston in 1998 and 1999, but more importantly, had a 4.06 ERA with the Devil Rays last year.
The idea of signing a lefty is of course a good one, seeing how the Astros' lefthanded relief corps consisted entirely of
after the plug was mercifully pulled on John Franco. And we've long known that Gallo doesn't even get lefties out better than he does righties: in other words, he's a lefty who functions as a righty.
So yeah, the addition of a lefthanded specialist who really does better against lefthanded batters seems to make at least a little bit of sense.
You should take a moment here to recognize that Gallo was very qualitative in his limited duty last year. But he certainly is not your traditional lefty specialist: righties hit .222 against Gallo, and lefties hit .268 off him. Even over 20-1/3 IP, that's pretty weird.
Miller may not have been as good as Gallo in 2005, but he was more traditional: lefties hit .267 off him, while righties hit .289.
So you see that even if the bullpen is not improved per se, it is deepened. As long as Gar can remember to use Gallo against righties, and to make sure he doesn't even consider using Miller against a decent righthanded hitter, this could work,
I will, however, leave it to others to debate whether 1.3 mil might have been a bit much.