The Houston Astros reportedly reached an agreement Thursday to re-sign relief pitcher Tony Sipp on a three-year, $18 million deal.  

Brian McTaggart of first reported an agreement was in place pending an official physical. Ken Rosenthal of passed along the financial details. Jon Heyman of also confirmed the deal.

Sipp is coming off of an outstanding 2015 season with the Astros. The 32-year-old left-hander posted a microscopic 1.99 ERA to go along with a 1.03 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 54.1 innings across 60 appearances out of the bullpen.

The former member of the Cleveland Indians and the Arizona Diamondbacks played a key role in Houston, as the team ranked sixth in bullpen ERA at 3.27, per

His success wasn’t a product of being a lefty specialist, either. He actually faced more right-handed batters than lefties and held them to a .190 batting average. Left-handed hitters tallied a .227 average against him.

Though he tested the free-agent waters, he stated back in October he always hoped things would work out so he could return to Houston, as noted by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:

(That will) probably hit me once I’m packing up my locker in Minute Maid, with it potentially being the last, but I really hope it isn’t. ‘Cause I want to come back. I definitely feel like this is home for me. And it’s definitely been—I’ve had special seasons here, whether it’s personal or for the team. 2014 it was more of a personal thing. This year, it’s a special team. So I just hope from a selfish standpoint I come back, and contribute the same thing next year.

He got his wish, and now, the Astros will be leaning heavily on him to provide similar shutdown innings late in the game. It’s probably not realistic to expect another sub-2.00 ERA from a pitcher with a 3.50 career mark, but his 3.34 xFIP last season, per FanGraphs, was still solid.

Houston has a budding core that gives it a good chance to make another playoff charge in 2016. Sipp and the bullpen must have another strong season to keep them firmly in the mix, though.


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