The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free-agent reliever Pedro Baez, according to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. Baez, known for working at an agonizingly slow pace, had previously spent his entire seven-year big-league career as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Baez's contract includes a club option and will be worth $12 to $14 million in guaranteed money, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Baez entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the 34th-best free agent available. He was the third-highest ranked reliever, behind Liam Hendriks (now a member of the Chicago White Sox) and Brad Hand (still available). Here's what we wrote at the time:
Perception is a powerful, often misleading thing. Take Baez for example. He's been a consistent, reliable, and valuable high-leverage reliever for as long as he's been in the Show, but your odds of convincing someone of that truth are akin to your chances of teaching a wildebeest how to play Connect Four. To wit, Baez is one of four relievers who have had an ERA+ exceeding 130 in each of the last five seasons. Those other three have all been entrusted with closer gigs and have accumulated more than 100 saves apiece. Not Baez, who is best known for his agonizing pace and his tendency to give up backbreaking home runs in October. To make matters worse, his velocity and his strikeout and walk rates all worsened in 2020. It's possible Baez's struggles were the product of an odd year; those woes, plus his danged perception, could cost him.
Baez, 32, is the second veteran addition the Astros have made to their bullpen this month. The Astros had previously signed right-hander Ryne Stanek after he was non-tendered by the Miami Marlins to a one-year contract worth $1.1 million.