When the Houston Astros signed Pedro Baez to a two-year, $12.5 million deal with a third-year option prior to the 2021 season, they did not envision his stint ending like this. The Astros announced Tuesday that they are designating Pedro Baez for assignment. The team will likely release the 34-year-old after his struggles this year and concerning drop in velocity. Houston called up right-hander Seth Martinez from Triple-A Sugar Land.
During his seven years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baez was one of the harder throwing relievers in the game. Early in his career, his fastball averaged almost 98 mph. In his last full season of 2019, it averaged 96 mph. Through the first three weeks of this season, it has averaged 90.2 mph.
Injuries could be the reason for the large drop in velocity. Baez has dealt with shoulder and back issues dating back to the start of 2021. The veteran wasn’t able to make his season debut in 2021 until mid-August due to shoulder issues. He was limited to four appearances before re-aggravating the shoulder injury.
Overall, in nine seasons with the Dodgers and Astros, Baez has a 3.08 ERA in 362 appearances. However, he did not find the same success this season. In three appearances in 2022, Baez has given up three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. He has given up five hits and three walks while striking out two.
Pressly and Altuve Nearing Returns
It appears that two key Astros may be nearing their respective returns from injury. Ryan Pressly threw a live batting practice session on Sunday according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The closer’s velocity and location looked good, so his return from a knee issue should be sometime in the next few days.
Jose Altuve has recently taken part in fielding and running drills. The former MVP has made great progress in his recovery from a hamstring strain, so his return is also on the horizon. He is eligible to come off the Injured List on Friday, so his return may come this weekend.