In a 60-game season where a series can be canceled at any moment, anything goes, but MLB teams still have to follow roster rules. So far, the Astros have had six players make their major league debuts. For a World Series contender, relying on so many young players is not normal, but this is not a normal season or year. With so many early injuries, the bullpen has become a critical part of the Astros season.
After letting Will Harris and others leave town, they re-signed Joe Smith to help stabilize the bullpen. Unfortunately, he was placed on the restricted list to miss the shortened season. Well, at least you have Brad Peacock and Austin Pruitt to eat up some innings. Yeah, about that! They are currently on the IL. Josh James is being converted to a starter in Jose Urquidy’s absence. So who is left in the Astros bullpen?
Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Chris Devenski, and Joe Biagini and the young guys. Well, Pressly and Devenski are both having elbow soreness. Biagini does not look great at the moment, leaving a beleaguered Astros bullpen after both Zack Greinke and James failed to complete four innings in their starts. Oh, yeah, Justin Verlander is out for a significant time with a right forearm strain. Don’t you just love 2020!
Pitching for the Sugarland Skeeters is Fernando Rodney, from the 2019 World Champion Washington Nationals. Rodney didn’t get signed to an MLB deal, so the 43-year-old decided to join the Skeeters just in case there was a need for his services in 2020. The Astros need some veteran bullpen help, could they try to get Rodney on the team.
According to Adam Spolane of Sports Radio 610, the Astros are nearing an agreement to purchase Rodney from the Skeeters. Later, Brian McTaggart confirmed that report. Rodney pitched on Sunday and had a scoreless inning. The 17-year veteran would be a good addition to the bullpen, but fans should not expect the same dominance in his career as a closer. Between the A’s and Nationals last year, he was 0-5 with a 5.66 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 47 ⅔ innings pitched.
Rodney can still throw in the low 90’s with a mid 80’s slider and changeup according to Fangraphs last year. He is a groundball (49.6%) pitcher, which would play well with the great Astros infield defense. The bullpen has a couple of warm bodies in it at the moment, but the rookies have pitched really well at the moment. Adding a veteran like Rodney will help with his experience as a reliever.
The only problem is the Astros 40-man roster is full at the moment after adding Brandon Bielak, so they would have to DFA someone or add them to the 60-day IL. With Pruitt’s setback, he could be a possibility, but those 60-days mean they are done for the season. Fans would tell you that Devenski or Biagini need to be DFAed, but I’m not sure what Dusty Baker and James Click think.
He will probably report to the alternate training site in Corpus Christi, but maybe he joins the team ASAP. We will definitely discuss this on tonight’s Locked On Astros podcast tonight, after the Astros take on the Dodgers tonight at 8:10 PM CT.