The Houston Astros add Francisco Liriano to strengthen bullpen.
Francisco Liriano is on the move for a second straight year. The Astros and Blue Jays have agreed to a deal to send Liriano to Houston. The deal is pending a physical. Houston is sending outfielder Nori Aoki and a prospect yet to be named to Toronto in the deal.
Although Liriano has struggled as a starting pitcher this season, the Astros will use him as a relief pitcher. The move will give the Astros much needed bullpen depth, as well as another lefty arm. Liriano has been viewed as a rental pitcher, as his contract will expire at season’s end. The move indicates that Houston is going all out for a title this season. Despite acquiring Liriano, the Astros are still actively pursuing Orioles closer Zach Britton.
Liriano has struggled heavily thus far this season. However, his success against left-handed hitters catches the eye of many. Despite a strikeout-to-walk ratio of just 1.72 this season, his ratio spikes to 17 against lefties (17 strikeouts, one walk). Tony Sipp, the only lefty currently in the Houston bullpen, has been sub-par in relief this season. Liriano brings experience and longevity to the table, qualities many Astros relievers do not have.
The Astros have been one of the MLB’s most exciting teams to date. Houston has the second best record in baseball, best in the American League. In addition to the best offense in the league, the Astros’ starting rotation has been phenomenal, despite injury. However, the struggling bullpen is set to receive an overhaul before the trade deadline. Brad Peacock, who started during injury to several starters, moves back to the pen, along with Liriano. If the Astros can manage to acquire Britton from the Orioles as well, it would be difficult to find a weak spot in this team.