First, please let me apologize for not having this piece published at seven AM. Without going into specifics, yesterday was very difficult for me.
That said, let's get down to business.
It was a very quiet day for the Astros compared to the flurry that represented days one and two. With the roster more or less set and set quite well, the one glaring hole was the presence of only one left handed reliever in the pen - the newly re-signed Tony Sipp.
An offer fell into our laps to add a very valuable LOOGY (stands for "Lefty One Out GuY", for those who haven't heard the term before) for what we considered to be minimal return, and we jumped on it.
2B/OF Tony Kemp
MR Charlie Furbush
Go ahead and get the 70s porn jokes out of your system. I'll wait.
Now, let's focus on what Mr. Furbush (stop it!) adds to the team.
In limited action in an injury shortened season, Furbush's results actually far exceeded his overall career splits. In 2015, he held left handed batters to a minuscule .105/.150/.105 slash line with an opposing wOBA of just .122 and struck out 8.49 hitters per nine innings. His FIP was a tiny 1.76 against southpaws, while his xFIP was a strong 3.03. Against right handed batters, he allowed a more modest but still good slash line .135/.244/.333 with a .238 opposing wOBA and 5.40 strikeouts per nine innings. Over his career, Furbush is excellent against left handed batters and merely good against right handed batters. Here's a look at his overall career splits:
As you can clearly see, he's an ideal target to specialize in retiring left handed batters for the Astros. He's also relatively cheap, and just 29 years old. After this offseason, he has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before potentially achieving free agency following the 2018 season.
With this move, the Astros bullpen appears complete...and even more formidable than last year. Luke Gregerson will reprise his role as closer, while Arquimedes Caminero sets the table for him with right handed fire. Will Harris and Josh Fields will return as additional right handed arms, and returnee Tony Sipp will be joined by Charlie Furbush as premier left handed options. As has been previously noted, the Astros will likely carry only eleven pitchers, with Marwin Gonzalez earning the 25th roster space as a super utilityman.
So are the Astros done in the Winter Meeting Simulation? Not quite, though we feel this roster would be a great one on Opening Day. The Astros are still fielding offers on several players - including Scott Feldman - in the final day of the simulation. Stay tuned for the final wrap up tomorrow, which will (hopefully) be posted much earlier and will break down any moves your Astros make in the waning hours of the simulation, as well as discussing the final starting rotation and likely lineups in more detail.
One last thing - please bear in mind that we have approached this offseason as realistically as we can, and we have tried hard to stay within our $95 million budget. We feel good on this front, as our 2016 salary currently sits right around $93 million.