Interesting piece of news today - to rejoin the Astros, Vince Velasquez needed a roster spot. The victim?? LOOGY Joe Thatcher. Interesting!
First, lefty relief has not been strong for the Astros this year. While wins and losses are no way to measure pitching effectiveness, Thatcher and Sipp have combined to lose 7 games. Thatcher has struck out a few (10.4 K/9) but has struggled with the walk (5.2 BB/9). His ERA of 3.79 looks unsightly compared to his FIP (3.17). His WHIP perhaps tells the best story - 1.684. For a guy who is there to pound lefties.
This is also interesting, because around three or four weeks ago, the Braves received AAA lefty Mitch Lambson in a trade, with the Astros receiving Charlie Ash in return.
I doubt that the Astros will pitch the next 6 weeks of the season with one lefty in the 'pen, but again, wouldn't be surprised if they do. Tony Sipp has not been great this year, but perhaps he has turned a corner. This might also open the door for a Luis Cruz for a Josh Hader-type to be promoted shortly. Or perhaps a trade for a lefty reliever is in the works.
For what it is worth, the Astros will be on the hook for Thatchers 1MM salary.
But the Astros' front office is measured and deliberate in their approach, and they have had plenty of time to think about Velasquez's promotion. This move will become clearer in the coming weeks, I would think.