Raphael Montero and the Astros have agreed to a three-year, $34.5 million contract, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Montero is the third reliever to fall off the board early, after the re-signed from the Padres Robert Suarez and the Mets held on Edwin Diaz.
It’s a remarkable deal considering Montero has only amassed 0.1 bWAR in his career and had an ERA north of six last year, but it shows how good he looks. since landing in Houston, and value first teams are banking on high-end relief throwing.
Montero, 32, has thrown 68 1/3 innings out of the Houston bullpen this year in addition to six innings thrown late last year after coming from Seattle, posting a 2.18 ERA this year. era with a strikeout rate of 26.8% and a walk rate of 8.6%. . He had posted a lousy 7.27 ERA (albeit with decent peripherals) in Seattle last year, before the Astros acquired him as part of the Kendall Graveman OK. In Houston, he relied more on his fastball and reduced his use of sinkers and sliders. Batters found it incredibly difficult to line up his pitches, and he gave up only three home runs all year (and one more in the postseason) and ranked in the 91st percentile for average outing velocity.
It’s certainly worth nothing that it wasn’t the first time Montero had a bit of a hit, only to fall apart soon after. Rangers signed him to a minor league contract in 2019 after four unsuccessful years with the Mets that ended with Tommy John surgery before the 2018 campaign. He became a valuable member of the Rangers bullpen that year, throwing 29 ERA 2.28 ball innings. He regressed a bit in 2020, but the Rangers were still able to return him to the Mariners for some prospects – Andres Mesa and Jose Corniel – ahead of the 2021 campaign, but things were going to fall apart for him in Seattle.
While it’s easy to look at that 2019 season with the Rangers and draw similarities to his final season with the Astros in that it was a strong season isolated among a broader portfolio of poor performers. , there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he’s turned a corner for good. For example, in 2019 his peripherals were far less impressive than his actual output, and that was on a much smaller sample (29 innings vs. Houston’s 74 1/3). Ultimately, however, granting any kind of multi-year free agency agreement to relievers involves a high degree of risk, and given the difficulty in predicting future reliever performance, there is no guarantee that Montero will behaves as it did in 2022 during the life of this case.
This deal locks in a key contributor to their World Series-winning team, but it’s curious to see a major deal like this done a day after the team left its general manager. Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome reported that Assistant General Manager Andrew Ball and Senior Director of Baseball Strategy Bill Firkus are leading the Astros’ day-to-day operations following James Click’s departure, though Rome adds that doesn’t necessarily mean those two were responsible of Montero agreement.
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