Houston Astros: Southpaw options for next year’s bullpen

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Manager manager A.J. Hinch
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Manager manager A.J. Hinch /
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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros lacked left-handed relievers so much that they dealt for Francisco Liriano mid-season. Now, with Liriano a free agent, the team is back in the same situation. However, they have several options this offseason to fill in the holes.

When the Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch submitted his World Series roster, it looked unique.

Among the several reliable arms he included in the list, just two were left-handed. One was cherished, beard-sporting starter Dallas Keuchel, who got the nod in Game 1 against Clayton Kershaw. The other was Francisco Liriano, the team’s lone southpaw reliever in the postseason.

The Astros’ pen was efficient for the past two seasons, ranking sixth and 10th in ERA in 2015 and 2016, respectively. In 2017, it was amateurish, sitting at 18th in ERA despite holding opponents to just a .234 average.

Of the team’s current roster, which includes several minor league players, just three relievers are left-handed, and one – Liriano – is a free agent. Tony Sipp is the only other pertinent one, as appeared in 46 games and was the team’s only lefty option before Liriano joined the club.

Clearly, having a scant amount of left-handed relievers didn’t hurt too much, as Houston claimed its first ever World Series title. Yet, manager AJ Hinch surely wants to have as many invaluable options as possible in his pitching arsenal.

The Astros’ best relievers scuffled in the postseason, as I’ve mentioned before. However, the team still possesses some notable guys including Chris Devenski, Ken Giles and Brad Peacock. And with a starting rotation that posted the sixth-best ERA in the league, Hinch may not need a deep bullpen.

Still, the three players that compiled more than 10 holds in 2017 are all right-handed. With a variety of serviceable left-handed pitchers in the market this offseason, Houston’s front office should look to better its bullpen.

Here are just a few guys that would improve it.