Houston Astros Roster
- AL West
- Minute Maid Park
The Houston Astros signed free-agent relief pitcher Hector Neris to a two-year deal worth $17 million guaranteed on Saturday, according to a source. Neris will replace right-hander Kendall Graveman, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Chicago White Sox earlier this week, in Houston's bullpen. The 32-year-old right-hander had multiple stints as the Philadelphia Phillies closer in the last eight seasons, and he had a 3.63 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 74 1/3 inning in 2021. Neris ranks second in relief appearances (372) and is third in relief innings (366 1/3) since 2016, so he should at least provide the Astros with plenty of innings in a backend bullpen role while helping Ryne Stanek set up closer Ryan Pressly. Neris should have value in leagues that reward points for holds.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander had at least one major contract on the table other than the one he accepted from the Astros, in the form of a one-year $25 million dollar offer from the New York Yankees. It's easy to see why Verlander stuck with his former team, as his new deal is essentially worth $50 million dollars over two years with the option to opt out halfway through. This news means the Yankees are likely to be in play for starting pitchers in a market flush with options. Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery are locked into the rotation for 2022, but Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes Jr., Domingo German, Jameson Taillon, and others will be battling against each other, and any new acquisitions, for the rest of the spots.
Veteran right-hander Justin Verlander is reportedly re-signing with the Houston Astros, according to a tweet from his brother, Fox Sports' Ben Verlander. Per Ben Verlander's tweet, it's a one-year deal worth $25 million that also includes a player option for the second season. Justin Verlander didn't pitch in 2021 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The veteran's last full season was in 2019 when he pitched to a 2.58 ERA, a 3.27 FIP, 300 strikeouts, and 42 walks in 223 innings, winning a Cy Young award in the process. The veteran will rejoin a rotation that also includes Jose Urquidy, Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia, Framber Valdez, and Jake Odorizzi.
Free-agent starting pitcher Justin Verlander could choose his new team within the week, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Verlander reportedly has both one-year and multi-year offers on the table. Teams that have expressed interest include the Braves, the Blue Jays, the Yankees and the White Sox, though it is expected that many more teams may be in the running, including his most recent club, the Houston Astros. Verlander did not pitch in 2021 and made just one appearance in 2020 before needing Tommy John surgery, but he was his usual elite self in 2019, posting a 2.58 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 223 innings. The 37-year-old has stated that he intends to pitch until he is 45.
The Houston Astros picked up first baseman Yuli Gurriel's $8 million option for the 2022 season on Thursday. Gurriel will return for his seventh season in Houston after putting up a strong year in 2021, with the team falling just short in the World Series to the Atlanta Braves. It was especially impressive after he struggled in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. Gurriel had a career year in 2021, slashing .319/.383/.462 with 15 home runs in 605 plate appearances. The 37-year-old lacks prototypical power for his position, which doesn't make him all that attractive in fantasy, but he walked a career-high 9.8% of the time this year and puts the ball in play often.