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Astros, reliever Rafael Montero reportedly agree to 3-year, $34.5 million deal

The Houston Astros might not have a general manager, but that's not stopping them from making moves.

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Astros have re-signed reliever Rafael Montero for three years and $34.5 million.

This deal will keep the 32-year-old reliever in Houston through 2025, and will pay out just over $11 million per year.

Montero, who signed with the New York Mets as an international free agent in 2011, has been with Houston since 2021, when the Seattle Mariners traded him after a disastrous few months in which he pitched to a 7.27 ERA over 40 appearances. He did much better with the Astros after the trade (though in far fewer innings), allowing one unearned run over six innings with two walks and five strikeouts in the last few months of 2021.

He had a breakout season in 2022, playing a major role in Houston's bullpen. He pitched 68.1 innings over seven appearances in the regular season, finishing the season with a 2.37 ERA, 14 saves, and 73 strikeouts. In the 2022 playoffs (the first he'd ever participated in), Montero had a 1.93 ERA over 9.1 innings and 10 appearances, and pitched the eighth inning of the Astros' historic combined no-hitter in Game 4 of the World Series.

Seeing the Astros make this kind of move is a little surprising. They don't currently have a GM, as James Click, Houston's GM since owner Jim Crane fired Jeff Luhnow in early 2020 for his role in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal, declined a one-year deal to return to the World Series-winning team that he managed and helped build. While Crane may have done this on purpose so he can hire a new GM, it all took place in the days prior to the Montero deal. But an empty GM chair obviously hasn't stopped Crane from crossing off an item of his offseason to-do list.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 02: Rafael Montero #47 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning in Game Four of the 2022 World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 02, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Reliever Rafael Montero is reportedly back with the Astros on a three-year, $34.5 million deal. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)