Sipp finds comfort with $18 million, 3-year deal from Astros

HOUSTON (AP) Tony Sipp can unpack his bags.

For the past 12 offseasons, Sipp has had to think about which new team he might be with.

After finalizing an $18 million, three-year contract with the Astros on Friday, Sipp and his family can settle in and call Houston home.

''You work all that time to get to this point, to finally arrive at some sense of comfort,'' Sipp said. ''To finally be there and finally unpack whatever spring training bag that I have and know where I'm going to be for the next few years is definitely a weight off my shoulders and me and my family.''

Drafted by Cleveland in 2004, he made it to the major leagues in 2009. Sipp was traded to Arizona in 2012, then became a free agent after the 2013 season. He signed with San Diego, got released, and joined the Astros in May 2014.

Houston gave him a deal paying $6 million in each of the next three seasons. He joined a team coming off its third straight 100-loss-plus season and was a key part of a bullpen that helped Houston reach the postseason for the first time since 2005.

''You can see the talent on this team,'' he said. ''I'd hate to depart from a team that you see so much potential in, with all the young core talent we have as a team. Just want to be a part of it. I love the guys. I feel like we're a family.''

Sipp said becoming a free agent last month was like being fresh out of a relationship and not really wanting to date. Hearing from other clubs was refreshing but his heart was in Houston.

Not only did Sipp want to be in Houston, but Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said retaining the left-hander was a priority.

''It's no surprise that the two most successful years since I've been here have been the last two, and Tony Sipp's been a big part of that,'' Luhnow said. ''As we came into this offseason, we wanted to assemble as much of the team that ended the year on the field for us as possible.''

The 32-year-old Sipp had a career-low 1.99 ERA last year. He appeared in all six of Houston's postseason games and allowed one hit in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

''I realized how valuable he was from day one,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''He doesn't care in what role he's pitching, he doesn't care who's up to bat; left-handed, right-handed, early, late. He did a little bit of everything for us.''

After reaching the AL Division Series and losing to eventual World Series champion Kansas City in five games, Sipp would like to help the Astros win their Series title.

''To continue on and prove that last year wasn't a fluke is something we're going to have to hold to high regards this spring training,'' he said.