Houston Astros look to beef up infield defense by targeting Craig Stammen

Free agent pitcher Craig Stammen, who is being targeted by the Houston Astros (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Free agent pitcher Craig Stammen, who is being targeted by the Houston Astros (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros are looking to beef up their bullpen and they’re turning to vet Craig Stammen to do that and beef up infield defense. What else?

The Houston Astros are one-week plus away from the Winter Meetings and they’ve walked out pretty much empty-handed with no help on the pitching front, a priority that still must be addressed.

Now that they’re back within the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park, there’s a lot of work to be done to ensure that the team does everything they can to address the holes on this roster and to re-sign the players that they want back into the fold.

The Houston Astros theme for this offseason is to seek veteran free agents that aren’t too costly to try to complement the team’s current roster, which is quite youthful within its own right.

The only free agency move that they made was to sign 29-year-old catcher Dustin Garneau and they’ve traded away Jake Marisnick to the New York Mets for prospect hopefuls Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona.

But what about the bullpen?  Free agents Will Harris and Joe Smith — both who still haven’t been signed yet — remain definitely in play to make a return back to the Houston Astros.

But what if the team won’t be able to re-sign them?  The Houston Astros may already be looking to a veteran reliever to try to fill the void of those two guys being missing from the lineup.

MLB Insider Jon Morosi reported recently that the Houston Astros are interested in the services of 35-year-old Craig Stammen, a solid reliever that has carved out a nice niche with the San Diego Padres as of late.

They’ll have to get in line as the Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals all have reached out to Stammen’s reps in regard to their interest.

Connor Byrne of MLB Trade Rumors indicates that he generates a solid amount of groundballs

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with his pitching — he has a 50.8 percent groundball rate — and he’s estimate to land a two-year deal worth $10 million, which is something the Houston Astros could definitely afford.  He just finished up a two-year, 4.5 million deal with the Padres.

Stammen was also ranked 7th in the NL among defensive games as a pitcher with 76 of those to his credit, which is impressive in his own right.  With his pronounced ground ball generation, that could pose a deadly combination out on the bump when he has to appear in relief.

Craig does most of his damage with his sinker, slider and curveball with a knuckle grip which are pitches that sit in the low 80s to high 90s respectively.

It remains to be seen if the Houston Astros will be able to win him but they certainly have a great shot of landing his services, regardless of what happens with Harris and Smith.

Next. Astros rank just about right on the FanSided 250. dark

It’s time to watch this narrative unfold!

Stammen posted an 8-7 record, a 3.29 ERA while throwing 73 strikeouts to 30 earned runs with a 1.16 WHIP, 8.0 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 through 82.0 innings pitched in 76 games this season.