Right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams has been signed by the Houston Astros to a one-year, MLB contract, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Cotillo notes that the deal is very incentive-laden and that Williams is expected to start with the Astros. The former 1st round pick hasn't quite lived up to his expectations, but he has been a serviceable pitcher as of late.
The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Los Angeles Angels, where he went 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.394 WHIP in 37 games (82 ERA+). Of those 37 games, 25 were starts. Williams has had an interesting career, in which he only pitched in 86.1 Major League innings from 2006 through 2011. However, Williams has been able to reach the 130-innings plateau three times in his career, while setting his career-high in innings in 2013 (169.1). The Hawaiian-native has gone 42-47 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.350 WHIP (94 ERA+) over his eight-year MLB career.
The Astros continue to make low-risk, high-reward signings this offseason, which is why many feel that they will improve. After making another one in Williams, they arguably have had one of the best off-seasons. Williams can struggle with his control (3.20 career BB/9) and does not really overpower hitters (5.69 career K/9), but he has been able to keep the ball on the ground (48.6 GB%) and has shown flashes of good pitching. Another excellent signing by the Astros.