Nobody had made much mention here that the Astros signed 28 year old pitcher Neal Musser a week or so ago. That's not surprising: it was not a major move. The most noteworthy aspect of the move is the way the Astros seem to be stockpiling lefthanded relief pitchers who come from the Royals' system. That trend starts with DeLaVera, the Rule 5 pick, and includes two or three other pitchers who came via minor PTBNL trades or off waivers.
Musser was on the Royals' 40 man prior to spring training, but was released off the roster in order to make room for another player (Juan Cruz, maybe?). The Astros signed Musser after he cleared waivers, and they are going to put him into action quickly, with his debut in today's game against the Nationals. Felipe Paulino will start that game. This isn't fair (particularly since I know little about Musser), but my immediate thought was, "uh, oh, another blow out loss is coming."
Here are some stats for Musser...even though i stared at them for a few minutes and can't say that they tell me much. CHONE, ZIPS and Marcel predict an ERA of 4.34 - 4.87. (By the way, that is the first time I noticed ZIPS at Fangraphs.) I suppose that isn't a bad sign for a guy who was picked up off the reject pile.
The other interesting question is: what's up with signing all these lefty relievers and why do they come from the Royals? Do the Astros anticipate trading a reliever down the road? Are they concerned about Wright or Byrdak? My guess is that the Astros realize LHP are valuable in the baseball biz, and they happened to like these guys' arms. Why they all come from the Royals, I don't know. Maybe the Astros' scout covering the Royals' minor leaguers is a real go-getter.