November 12th, 2022
Right-handed reliever Rafael Montero and the Astros have agreed on a three-year, $34.5 million contract, sources tell MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi.
The Astros have not confirmed the deal, which was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
After a tumultuous 2021 season in which he posted a 7.27 ERA in 40 games with the Mariners and then made just four appearances following the Deadline deal that brought him to Houston, Montero flourished in 2022, pitching to a 2.37 ERA over 71 games and acting as a stopgap when closer Ryan Pressly was sidelined, racking up 14 saves.
The right-hander proved just as valuable to the Astros in their World Series run, surrendering just two runs over 10 postseason appearances.
Perhaps even more encouraging than his performance, the 32-year-old Montero, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, dealt with tendinitis in his surgically repaired right elbow when he returned in 2020 and spent the last two months of the 2021 season sidelined with right shoulder discomfort, remained healthy for the entirety of the 2022 campaign.
With Montero already locked down, the Astros have the majority of their 2022 relief corps set to return in 2023, great news for the defending champs. Houston’s bullpen, which posted an MLB-best 2.80 ERA in the regular season, was nearly unhittable come October. In 54 1/3 postseason innings, Astros relievers combined for a 0.83 ERA, the lowest in postseason history (min. 35 IP). They also set the mark for lowest WHIP (0.75) and lowest opponents’ batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage (.126/.215/.208).