Astros Sign Tony Sipp

1:09pm: The Astros have officially announced the signing, adding that right-hander Jesse Crain has been transferred to the 60-day DL in order to create room on the 40-man roster, and right-hander Paul Clemens has been optioned to Triple-A to create room on the 25-man roster.

FRIDAY, 7:29am: Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Sipp’s deal will pay him “roughly” $700K if he hits all of the incentives (Twitter link).

THURSDAY: Left-hander Tony Sipp has asked for and been granted his release by the Padres so that he can sign a Major League contract with the Astros, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter). Sipp, 30, is a client of the Bledsoe Brothers Athlete Agency.

Though Sipp’s ERA with San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate was a somewhat pedestrian 4.30, he posted an outstanding 21-to-2 K/BB ratio in his 14 2/3 innings of work at El Paso this season. He inked a minor league deal with the Friars this offseason and elected not to opt out of his deal when his first opt-out date (March 26) came up.

Sipp has significant Major League experience under his belt, as he’s pitched at least 37 2/3 innings in the big leagues in each of the past five seasons. In that time, he’s compiled a 3.84 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 29.9 percent ground-ball rate. Over the course of his five Major League seasons, Sipp has held opposing left-handed hitters to a .224 average and .306 OBP, but he’s been homer-prone against same-handed hitters, yielding a .426 slugging percentage and allowing a homer every 22.3 plate appearances.

Houston’s bullpen has struggled this season, posting the worst ERA (5.86) and FIP (5.11) in all of Major League Baseball. In particular, left-handed relievers Raul Valdes and Kevin Chapman have struggled, allowing eight earned runs and issuing 10 walks in just seven innings of work.

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