I’ve already written about this topic in the offseason: Who will close for the Astros in 2021? It didn’t become clear until I read Astros GM James Click’s recent quote, which can be found on MLB.com. Reading between the lines, you shouldn’t expect the team to go after an established closer like, say, Liam Hendricks. The answer, according to Click, might be in the house.
Click referred to Ryan Pressly as the main candidate to close in 2021. With Roberto Osuna sidelined, the veteran righty saved 12 games for the Astros in ’20, recorded a 3.43 ERA, and was much better since late-August after overcoming a rough beginning of the season. Now with Osuna gone, Pressly seems the guy to officially take over the closer’s role during the next campaign.
“There is a real value and a real comfort to having that guy that you can count on in those really tight, really high-leverage situations, and I think Pressly has all the tools to do that,” said Click, who didn’t close the door at other in-house possibilities. “Beyond that, I think there are some guys in our bullpen that could grow into that [closer’s] role.”
But what you can expect them to get is good, effective relief pitchers on the market, especially after Osuna and Chris Devenski’s departures. Again, this is according to what Click said days ago: “There are some very talented relievers that were available in free agency, and whether we stamp them as ‘closer’ or not, we’re going to do everything we can to shore up our options in those late-inning, high-leverage situations.”
Besides Osuna and Devenski, Brad Peacock, Chase De Jong, Joe Biagini, Cy Sneed, Rogelio Armenteros, Brandon Bailey were all let go in one way or another by the Astros, who will have Joe Smith back after sitting out in 2020.
Right now this is the projected bullpen for the Astros, according to FanGraphs’ Roster Resource:
• RHP Ryan Pressly (CL)
• RHP Enoli Paredes
• LHP Blake Taylor
• RHP Joe Smith
• LHP Brooks Raley
• RHP Andre Scrubb
• LHP Cionel Pérez
• RHP Austin Pruitt
As for the open market, there are several options to strengthen the Astros bullpen. If you take a look, you’ll see names such as Oliver Pérez, Sergio Romo, Darren O’Day, Mark Melancon, Ian Kennedy, Yusmeiro Petit, Brandon Kintzler, Pedro Strop, Greg Holland, Oliver Drake, Brad Boxberger, and company. The clock is ticking.
Is Pressly a suitable closer for the Astros in 2021
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