Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post is reporting the Astros signed right-handed pitcher Clay Hensley to a one-year, $550,000 deal.
Hensley is 29 and the Padres used him in a set-up, relief role. In 32 games in 2008 (39 innings), Hensley posted a 5.31 ERA, 1.56 WHIP with 26 Ks to 25 BBs. Righties hit .221 off him - lefties hit .288.
As I've mentioned, it's not hard for a reliever to run up a huge ERA, so let's take a closer look at him.
Hensley gets a start at Pittsburgh and gives up six earned in five innings. Boom.
He makes one other appearance in which he gives up a run.
13 appearances - gives up earned runs in three (doesn't record an out on Aug 27, giving up two runs.
12 appearances - earned runs in six. Includes a Sept 1-11 run where he gives up runs in three of four games.
So we're talking about a guy who blanked the opposistion in 21 of the 32 games in which he pitched. Take out that spot start and his ERA drops to 4.63.
Now this is interesting: When used on consecutive days, Hensley posted an ERA of 11.81. When given a day off in between appearances, his ERA dropped to 2.08 and batters hit .161 against him. When given two days off, his ERA was 2.70. On 3-5 days rest, Hensley's ERA was 9.82.
So use him often, just don't use him everyday. The middle of the order teed off on him. 3-4-5 hitters went 14-for-39 (.359 average) off him, too.
$550,000 is low-risk, high-reward. Another sub-radar move, no splash, but could be solid throughout the season.