Houston had said all offseason that their bullpen had made strides and had improved. We are only at the start of May and Houston is now scrambling around trying to fix up their failing bullpen. Sources told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune that San Diego Padres pitcher Tony Sipp had asked for his release (and was granted), in order to sign a Major League contract with the Houston Astros. Sipp’s deal could be worth roughly $700,000 if he reaches performance incentives, and his base salary is slightly more the league minimum of $500,000, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
Astros relievers have the highest ERA in the majors, 5.86. Sipp is looking to help this struggling bullpen right away. When he signed a minor league deal with the Padres in the offseason, he hoped to make their major league team and make a difference. To his disadvantage, the Padres were well off without him. Their bullpen currently leads the majors with a 1.79 ERA. The Astros will have to clear a spot on both their 25-man and 40-man rosters before activating Sipp.
Tony Sipp has had an average season, so far, in the Padres organization. At Triple-A El Paso, Sipp compiled a 1-1 record and a 4.30 ERA in over fourteen innings of work. Lifetime in the majors, Sipp averages 9.3 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9, while in the minors this season, he has recorded a remarkable 12.9 K/9 this season compared to a mere 1.2 BB/9. In 304 career appearances over a span of five seasons, Sipp is 14-9 with a 3.84 ERA.
Houston has carried only one left-handed reliever to this point, but they now may carry two. Kevin Chapman broke camp as the team’s left-handed reliever and was then replaced by Raul Valdes. I would expect the Astros to carry both Valdes and Sipp in their bullpen.