It’s not that surprising to see the very little interest in Randy Choate over the offseason now that he’s past his 40th birthday. But there’s still someone who wants a lefty reliever, which turns out to be the Houston Astros.
The ambitious team has just two left handed relief pitchers in their bullpen with Tony Sipp and Kevin Chapman. Choate might be the definition of a specialist, as he keeps getting rocked by right handed hitters (.290/.403/.404) while dominating against lefties (.195/.276/.274) but every team needs at least one of those. He did OK with the St. Louis Cardinals last season (played for them the last three seasons), posting a 3.95 ERA in 27.1 innings, averaging 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings while doing very well in terms of avoiding walks, posting a 4.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
While the Astros are the first team to show interest in Choate, who has been in major league baseball since 2000 when he started his career on the New York Yankees, they’re probably not going to be the last. They may be the first to try and avoid a bullpen problem early on by going after a low cost, aging player (made $3 million last season, will take less probably in 2016), but bullpen problems always arise during spring training and before the season begins.
In 15 years Choate has played for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Dodgers, Rays and Marlins. He has a 3.90 ERA over 408 innings, averaging 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings, really raising his K numbers in the second half of his career. He has a 1.287 career WHIP, including 1.244 last season (constantly rising during his time with St. Louis). His strikeouts-to-walks ratio from last season was the best of his career.