Astros right-hander Chris Devenski underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow yesterday, the team announced Wednesday. The recovery time on the procedure is expected to be about four months.
Devenski, 29, has struggled over the past few seasons, but from 2016-17, “The Dragon” was a major piece of Houston’s bullpen. In that time, he worked a combined 189 innings with a 2.38 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.71 HR/9 and a 35.9 percent ground-ball rate. He posted a swinging-strike rate better than 15 percent over that two-year stretch, including a gaudy 16.9 percent in a 2017 campaign that saw him punch out 31.6 percent of the hitters he faced.
Since Opening Day 2018, however, Devenski has a 4.88 ERA in 120 frames. He’s still averaging 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in that time, but his walk rate has ticked up slightly, his velocity has dipped, and he’s become vastly more prone to home runs (1.73 HR/9). Devenski managed just 3 2/3 innings in 2020 and was tagged for six runs on seven hits and three walks in that brief sample.
Heading into the offseason, Devenski will be at somewhat of a crossroads. His $2MM salary in 2020 was hardly outrageous, and his limited body of work this year means he’s unlikely to receive much of a raise — if any at all. Still, every club will be looking to trim some payroll where possible (to varying extents). Devenski’s late elbow procedure and his downward trend in 2018-20 will make him a non-tender candidate, particularly given that he’s only controllable through the 2021 season right now at present anyhow.