It was announced by the Astros on Monday that they had signed LHP Erik Bedard to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite. Bedard, who will turn 34 in March, pitched for the Pirates in 2012 and compiled a 7-14 record with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.472 WHIP before being released in August.
I believe that Bedard was signed as insurance in case lefties Dallas Keuchel, Brett Oberholtzer and Rudy Owens don't show GM Jeff Luhnow what he needs to see in Spring Training. Bedard could serve as a back of the rotation starter and a veteran presence on the young staff and he brings knowledge of American League hitters with him, having pitched 8 of his 9 seasons with American League teams. He could serve as a place-holder until the young pitchers are ready for prime time. With that said, if I were Keuchel, Oberholtzer or Owens, I would be going to Spring Training with a chip on my shoulder ready to take the job away from Bedard. I think that's what Luhnow wants too.
In other news, C Landon Powell, a free agent who played for Oklahoma City in 2012, signed with the Mets and will be going to Spring Training with them as a non-roster invitee. Also, it was rumored that IF Matt Downs is going to sign with the Marlins, but I haven't seen confirmation of that yet. I have updated the Off-Season Transaction list to reflect these changes.