Astros agree to terms with Sipp
The Astros bolstered their bullpen Friday by agreeing to terms veteran left-hander Tony Sipp to a Major League contract. To make room for him on the roster, right-hander Paul Clemens was optioned to Triple-A, and right-hander Jesse Crain was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Sipp’s agent, Hunter Bledsoe, said he could earn up to $700,000 with incentives.
Sipp had appeared in 11 games this season at Triple-A El Paso of the San Diego organization, going 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. He asked for his release from the Padres after it became clear a big league opportunity wasn’t on the horizon.
The 30-year-old comes to the Astros with a career 3.84 ERA in 304 appearances with the Indians (2009-12) and the D-backs last season. He’s held lefties to a .224 average in his career and righties to a .209 mark.
“It’s definitely kind of a better chance coming to a club searching for some kind of stability and me just, not trying to make a name for myself, but to almost prove to yourself that you still have the same success that you had the last few years,” Sipp said. “I had a down year last year, and to get an opportunity to go out there and prove yourself, prove to everyone else that this is where you belong, that’s what every player wants. I want to make a home, and there’s no better place than Houston.”
He’ll provide help to an Astros bullpen that ranks last in the Majors in ERA at 5.86 and is tied for the most blown saves with six. He’ll join Raul Valdes, who allowed three earned runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings in seven games this year, as the lefties in the bullpen. Kevin Chapman began the year as the lefty specialist, but was optioned to Triple-A after giving up five runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Sipp joins fellow veterans Chad Qualls and Matt Albers in the bullpen, though Albers is on the disabled list.
“Just like anything, you want to sit back and get acquainted with the guys before I start giving my input,” he said.
Clemens, 26, has made four appearances for the Astros this season, posting a 4.73 ERA. He pitched on Wednesday against Washington, tossing 3 1/3 innings, while allowing one run.
Crain, 32, has been on the disabled list the entire season while recovering from offseason surgery on his right biceps. He currently is rehabbing at the Astros’ Spring Training complex in Florida, throwing off flat ground, after being diagnosed with bursitis last week.