Washington Nationals Free Agent Profile: Tony Sipp


After a great finish to the 2015 season, could the Nationals look to free agent Tony Sipp to be their veteran left-hander in the bullpen for 2016?

So far this winter, the Washington Nationals have been liked to prominent relievers in rumors such as free agent right-hander Darren O’Day or in trades, as is the case with Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman. While the Nats should look to big names to fill out the bullpen if they do move Jonathan Papelbon and/or Drew Storen, they could also use a second left-hander to help out Felipe Rivero with the likely absence of Matt Thornton. One name to keep an eye on is former Astro Tony Sipp.

Even though Sipp will be going into his age-33 season in 2016, he is coming off of a career year in 2015 with Houston. In 60 appearances, the left-hander went 3-4 with a 1.99 ERA (2.93 WHIP), struck out 62 batters, and walked 15 in 54.1 innings. His 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings was the second best total of his career (11 in 2013 with Arizona).

More from District on Deck

If you look closer at his numbers from this past season, right-handers did hit four home runs against Sipp, but he held them to a .190 opposing batting average (lefties hit .227 with one home run).

As the Houston Astros were making their push for the postseason, Sipp was arguably one of the better relievers in the game. Over his final 24 appearances, he had an ERA of 0.41 as he gave up only one run over the final 2.5 months of the season. While Sipp did get the blown save in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Royals, he still gave up only one unearned run over 5.1 innings in the postseason.

More from Nationals News

Sipp isn’t the type of reliever that will blow you away with a 100 mile per hour fastball, but he is able to get opposing hitters out with a good mix of offspeed pitches. His fastball, according to Fangraphs, averages at about 91 miles per hour, but he only goes to that pitch about 51% of the time. His other two pitches are a changeup and curveball. In fact, he used his changeup more this past season than in any season in his career (about 24%).

Coming off of an excellent 2015 season, Sipp is looking at a multi-year deal this winter from a team looking for bullpen help. If the Nats do miss out on landing O’Day, Sipp would be a good plan B as someone who could be a second left-hander in the bullpen and be a veteran mentor to Rivero when you consider Sipp has been in the majors since 2009.