The bullpen is costing the Astros wins. And, as we’ve said recently, the team needs help right now. In free agency, there’s a high-quality arm that has already been a member of the club, but comes with injury risk and a negative reputation: Roberto Osuna.
Could or should the Astros pay the price of another PR blow (ahem sign-stealing scandal) by signing Osuna hoping he’d be the solution to their bullpen woes?
Besides his last-year injury that kept him from the mound for most of 2020, a big reason why Osuna isn’t currently pitching in the Majors is due to his case of domestic violence back in 2018, for which he even received a 75-game suspension by MLB. We all know he’s talented enough to dominate, but is he worth it? Has baseball forgiven him?
In professional terms, it’s undeniable that Osuna would come with a bit of uncertainty, as he was injured for most of 2020 and even was on the verge of Tommy John surgery. But according to himself, what was once believed to be a partially torn UCL was actually a “forearm strain.”
ICYMI @RobertoOsuna1, who last pitched Aug. 1 before a right arm injury ended his season, acknowledged it was recommended he undergo Tommy John surgery when he received the initial diagnosis for the injury.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 1, 2020
However, after he went for a second opinion Osuna said he received a...” pic.twitter.com/eIqlEozgCn
So —along with the domestic abuse case— it’s sort of a 50/50 scenario in which you can choose either to believe him and bet on him considering his shady past or doubt him, though there’s always physical tests to really measure how true was his “forearm strain” statement.
The Astros let Osuna become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2020 season and he didn’t find a home in the bigs for the reasons I just gave you. Things have changed for him and, in my opinion, he’s not in a position to ask for much money as he’s trying to turn his career around, leave everything behind, and get back to the Majors.
Right now, he’s closing games for the Diablo Rojos del México in the Liga Mexicana de Béisbol. So far in two games, Osuna’s thrown two scoreless innings of one hit, no walks, and four strikeouts.
Osuna, now 26, used to be one of the best and most reliable closers in the game from 2016 to 2019 for the Blue Jays and the Astros. Throughout his career, he carries a 2.74 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and a 2.76 FIP across 315 innings (348 strikeouts / 55 walks).
When put on a balance, Osuna could be a major pain reliever for the Astros’ aching bullpen, forming a formidable trio for innings seven, eight, and nine along with Ryne Stanek/Pedro Báez (when healthy) and current closer Ryan Pressly. On the other hand, signing him again can represent more trouble in the environment of the team.
But what do you think? Would you at least consider bringing back Osuna if you were GM James Click or go after someone else? Let us know in the comments!