The Astros have announced the signing of left-hander Erik Bedard to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training via press release. The 33-year-old is represented by SFX.
Bedard was the Opening Day starter for the Pirates last season after signing a one-year deal worth $4.5MM. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Bedard's season wasn't nearly as strong as the 2011 campaign he split between the Mariners and Red Sox. He managed just a 5.01 ERA in 125 2/3 innings before being released in August. He displayed his typical high strikeout rate (8.5 K/9) but was also plagued by sub-par command (4.0 BB/9).
Bedard has a 3.85 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 1,077 career innings between the Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox and Pirates. Following his best season in 2007, he was traded from Baltimore to Seattle for a package highlighted by Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. Since that time, he's managed just 419 innings, although his 3.89 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in that span are all very close to his career numbers.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, that there's a "strong chance" Bedard will crack Houston's rotation (Twitter link). In addition to Bedard, Luhnow has added several rotation options to his team this offseason. As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, the Astros have claimed Philip Humber on waivers and acquired both John Ely and Alex White via trade.