The title on FoxSports Rosenthal's article says it all, "Too many closers not enough jobs." With several teams, including the Astros, acquiring their closers, not enough good paying closer jobs remain, and quite a few potential closers remain on the market. As Rosenthal says, this game of musical chairs will not end well for somebody.
Former Astros closer Jose Valverde is the cream of the crop. But Rosenthal's commentary is interesting:
Jose Valverde. His problem is not performance,,,No, Valverde’s problem is that he is a Type A free agent who rejected his team’s offer of salary arbitration. His decision, in part, was fueled by emotion; Valverde, one friend said, was upset with the Astros for declining to sign him long-term.
Thus, he made a personal decision, if not -- perhaps -- the best business move...Teams are interested. They have to be interested. The question is at what price.
Rosenthal points out that the teams which are looking for closers now--Tigers, Nationals, and Padres--are in a cost cutting mode. He suspects that some closers may have to take set up jobs on teams with bigger budgets.
Since Valverde appears to be gone for good, what does this have to do with the Astros? Well, the Astros offered arbitration in order to get a 1st and sandwich (between 1st and 2d) round draft pick for Valverde's Type A status. And the market issues for Valverde could put that draft plum at risk. Entering a weak market with the draft compensation weight around his neck, Valverde may end up signing with a bottom 15 team (like the Nationals) which cannot lose its 1st round pick. In that situation, the Astros would only get the sandwich pick. Or perhaps he becomes more attractive to big market teams after those teams have already lost their first round pick by signing a Type A free agent. It's possible that the the Astros only receive a 2d or 3d round pick in that situation. The worst case scenario (for both the Astros and Valverde) is that he insists on too much money or too many years, and doesn't sign until after the next amateur draft (at which point he loses the compensation requirement) in which case the Astros get nothing. I don't think that is likely at all. But I should mention the worst case scenario.
It's tempting to say that the Astros should have waited on acquiring a closer until later in the off-season because the market will get weaker. Perhaps there is some merit to this view. But I see two counters to that argument. First, Wade had to find out what he would spend on the closer before he could know what he can spend on anyone else. I can understand Wade's quandry, and subsequent desire to resolve the late inning questions first. Second, the Astros' decision to take Lyon and Lindstrom off the market has a lot to do with creating the market glut. When the market has so few players and teams, removing one team and two players has a significant effect.