Starting to show signs of the types of deals that they can afford to make, the Houston Astros recently agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams. They signed him to be a starting pitcher, and when they finalized the deal on Wednesday they announced the terms of the contract.
On #Astros deal, Jerome Williams gets $2.1M guaranteed and can earn up to $1M in additional incentives. 1-year, MLB deal.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 6, 2014
Williams showed signs of promise in 2012. That year he logged a 3.84 FIP with a solid 53.6 groundball percentage. Last year he struggled some; in a career-high 169.1 innings, he logged a 4.57 ERA and a 4.24 FIP. His GB% went down some, as did his K/9, but he showed durability and versatility (making 25 starts).
The Astros have not committed to much guaranteed money, so Williams is a nice option as the team tries to build a rotation. If things do not work out on that front, they can always use him out of the bullpen because he has experience in that area as well.
As the Astros navigate their rebuilding process, they will start to look to add bigger pieces. As an example, they reportedly expressed serious interest in Masahiro Tanaka before he signed a mega-deal with the New York Yankees. A pitcher like Williams, on a one-year deal like this, serves as an example as the kinds of players they will need to bridge them from year to year in the meantime.