Ryan Pressly reached the vesting threshold for a $10MM option in 2022, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). For the option to fully vest, Pressly needs to appear in 60 games in both 2020 and 2021. This season’s appearances are prorated because of the shortened season, however, meaning he needed 23 appearances to reach the equivalent of 60 over a full year. Pressly’s one-inning outing on Friday night was his 23rd of the season.
Pressly has been a huge part of the Astros’ bullpen over their current run, which includes 4 consecutive postseason appearances and counting. Since joining Houston via trade from the Twins on July 27, 2018, Pressly has posted a 2.19 ERA/2.42 FIP across 104 appearances out of the Houston bullpen. He was particularly effective down the stretch after joining the Astros in 2018. His first 26 appearances resulted in a 0.77 ERA to finish out that 2018 season.
This season he stepped into a new role for Houston, serving as its closer for much of the year. The Astros lost Roberto Osuna, Chris Devenski, Josh James, and Brad Peacock from their bullpen over the course of the season. Pressly has stepped in ably to record 12 saves in 16 opportunities while finishing 15 games. He’s thrown 21 innings in total with 12.43 K/9 to 3.00 BB/9.
The 31-year-old is on the books for $8.75MM next season. If he stays healthy, it’s certainly likely he’ll reach that 60 games threshold to lock in a $10MM salary for 2022. That said, any injury could deprive him of enough opportunities to hit that mark. He made just 55 appearances in 2019 for the Astros, though he twice spent time on the injured list, including missing a month from late August to late September. He has twice reached 60 appearances in a season prior to this year (2016, 2018).
The Astros books are pretty clear for 2022 as of right now. Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr., Osuna, Devenski, and Carlos Correa are all set to be free agents after the 2021 season. Only Jose Altuve ($29MM) and Alex Bregman ($13MM) are currently owed significant sums for 2022. Clearly, lots can change before then and at least a few of the Astros’ potential free agents are likely to sign back. Regardless, if Pressly continues to pitch as he has, $10MM would not be an exorbitant price to pay, nor would the contract be immovable should that be their preference.