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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12 Comments on "Astros Sign Tony Sipp"

Ron Loreski
1 year 5 months ago

Maybe I just don’t understand the rule, someone can explain it to me. How is a player allowed to ask for his release to sign a major league deal with another team? That would mean he obviously had conversations with the Astros while under contract with San Diego. Is a player allowed to do that because he is on a minor league contract?

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

Not every MiLB contract is the same. MiLB contracts for former MLB players often contain provision allowing them to discuss MLB deals with other clubs and the right to request or be granted their released if they find an MLB contract. It really depends on the individual contract.

Sometimes contacts have a soft op-out date (meaning a player can op-out if they have found an MLB deal by a certain date), sometimes its a formal op-out (player can op-out regardless of finding an MLB deal at a certain date) and sometime players are simply allowed to discuss potential MLB deals (this sounds like what Sipp had since he had to request his release).

1 year 5 months ago

There are also type XX(B) free agents in which opt-out dates are mandated as per league rules.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

Your correct regarding type XX(B) FA who sign MiLB deals but that clearly did not come into play here.

Per CBA an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is either not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List by 3 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day, the player automatically receives a $100,000 retention bonus, and the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or an MLB Disabled List by that date.

It is neither opening day nor June 1st so clearly this provision played no role here.

1 year 5 months ago

I was trying to add on to your comment to help the OP’s understanding of the situation.

1 year 5 months ago

After a guy has player in the Bigs or after 7 years in the minor he signs a minor league free agent contract which allows him to do just that

1 year 5 months ago

And because he has major league experience it is worded into his contract that he can bolt if he gets offer a major league contract

1 year 5 months ago

Well…considering the Astros bullpen, he can’t be any worse, right?


Jacob Cook
1 year 5 months ago

Don’t worry guys, he along with the rest of the filler-players are just here until the prospects are ready. Could take a year, or fifty but hey it is what it is.

Kennon Riley
1 year 5 months ago

Is Crain’s DL retroactive to 3/21?

1 year 5 months ago

Bass, Guzman, Qualls and now Sipp. The Astros sure like them some former Padres.

Ryan Stall
1 year 5 months ago

He is a former Padre, so yes