The Houston Astros avoided arbitration with catchers Jason Castro and Hank Conger on Friday, along with relief pitcher Tony Sipp, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. In his piece, Drellich says that Sipp and the Astros reached an agreement for 2015 at $2.4M, while Castro will receive $4M and Conger $1.075M.
With these three players inked, and Chris Carter agreeing to a one-year, $4.175M deal on Wednesday, that leaves only Dexter Fowler and Marwin Gonzalez left as the Astros arbitration candidates. According to Drellich, Fowler filed for a $10.8M contract, while the Astros countered with an $8.5M offer. This will be Fowler’s last year before free agency.
The case of Fowler may be an interesting one to keep an eye on, because with Evan Gattis now in Houston, Fowler could be shopped, but it could be the center fielder’s contract could determine whether or not he gets moved.
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Gonzalez is said to have filed for a $1.4M deal for 2015, while the Astros countered that with an $800K offer. If the contract was for the work he will do in 2015, with the possibility of MarGo manning third base on a somewhat regular basis, then his figure could be closer to the amount he proposed. Yet, the arbitration process is for past services, so it will likely be somewhere in the middle.
The arbitration hearings start on February 1st, and last through February 21st. Teams can still negotiate with their players before that date, to avoid leaving the decision in the arbiter’s hands.