Houston Astros: Team should take a chance on lefty closer Mike Minor

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Mike Minor /

The Houston Astros have been world champs for two weeks and it’s already time to think about ways this team can be improved.  Adding a left-handed reliever is a priority and according to the Chron’s Jake Kaplan, it could be a possibility.

Outside of Dallas Keuchel, of course, it’s no secret the Houston Astros struggled mightily with the rest of their lefties this past season.  Tony Sipp, who is under contract through the end of the 2018 season, wasn’t even a blip on the radar because he was so ineffective.

In addition to another lefty, Francisco Liriano, the veteran lefty acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Nori Aoki and top prospect Teoscar Hernandez proved to be a dud of a deal for the team.  He was sparingly used because he’d have the tendency to gift home runs as if he were Santa Claus.  Liriano have since made his exit — with a World Series ring in tow — ready to hit the market for free agency.  Because the Houston Astros sure as hell wouldn’t be bringing him back.

I was so desperate at one point in the season that I didn’t mind if James Hoyt was used as a “specialist” to handle both batter types because despite his struggles earlier in the season, he had gotten better but not quite enough to make the playoff roster.  Hoyt may be a solid Triple-A pitcher at best but with the best left-handed options such as Justin Wilson and Tony Watson being dealt at the non-waiver deadline, we needed answers somewhere.

But as we propel ourselves into the winter, the Houston Chronicle Jake Kaplan gives us some food for thought.  He proposed that the Houston Astros could likely be targeting left-handed reliever Mike Minor to help bolster the depth of the bullpen.

Here’s what he added about 29-year-old Minor:

"“Minor, a former seventh overall draft pick who turns 30 next month, had a 2.55 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 772⁄3 innings for the Royals last season. Harnessing a mid-90s fastball and a power slider, he held lefties to a minuscule .163 batting average and a .423 on-base plus slugging percentage.”"

According to the Brooks Baseball, he also has a nice 83-mph curve with a knuckle grip that can generate some strikes but has little depth.  It primarily moves in a 12-6 type motion. 

Not only that but he mentions that there is a possibility that he could be a reliable closer ahead of

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Ken Giles as well.  Yes, I’m disappointed in GIles’ performance but he’s still good enough to be on this roster, I could certainly see him in a setup role because it seems as if he’s just not ready to be up against the pressure as we saw throughout the postseason with him.

But quite honestly, if we do get Minor, HE WILL BE OUR CLOSER!

Kaplan also mentions that he does have a tight relationship with catcher Brian McCann — and they share the same agent — as they did play ball together with the Atlanta Braves from 2010-13.

Minor was on a two-year, $7.25 million deal with a $10 million mutual option for 2018 with the Kansas City Royals.  But he decided to opt-out and head to free agency as there will be likely some uncertainty of how the Royals will look going into next season.  I’d suspect that the Houston Astros could offer him somewhere around $10 million a year for three years to which Kaplan alluded to what he’s seeking.

I think that’s reasonable compensation for guy that could eventually bring a ton of production along with him.  But it’s not my money to spend, it’s Jim Crane’s.

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He does have a history of injury, missing the 2015-16 seasons with a shoulder ailment.  He’s apparently good to go now and I think he would make an incredible weapon in the bullpen.  Look at Charlie Morton — very few thought he’d be effective in helping this team win games and we saw him get the final out of the World Series.

So just as I was wrong about Morton, I know I can certainly be right about Minor.  Let’s take a chance on him!

Go Astros.