So the Astros have signed free agent LHP Zach Duke to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Should we get worked up? Duke is a native Texan (Clifton), spent the first six years of his career with Pittsburgh, and last season with Arizona. Here are his career stats:
181GP (he started nine of his 21 games for the Diamondbacks in 2011), 1269H/528ER, 537K:282BB, 4.56 ERA/1.49 WHIP. How does that break down per game? 11 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 4.6 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9.
So he doesn't walk anybody, but he doesn't strike anybody out, either. In the two seasons since his 2009 All-Star appearance (as the lone Pittsburgh All-Star), he has a 5.46 ERA/1.63 WHIP, with a 73 ERA+. (J.A. Happ had a 71 ERA+ in 2011, as did Jordan Lyles.) In his six appearances (five starts) at Minute Maid, Duke has a 1-2 record, with a 3.41 ERA/1.33 WHIP - small sample size, so do what you want with it.
To be fair, his BABIP in 2010 and 2011 were .338 and .339, respectively, and his xFIP was 4.31 and 4.27, also respectively. Seems as though those ground balls found holes.
To answer the original question of us getting all worked up: Not really. It's a minor-league deal, so remember that.