Astros Arbitration News: Keuchel, Marisnick, and Springer


The Houston Astros payroll is getting closer to taking shape for the 2017 season.

Today was the deadline for teams and players to exchange salary figures for the upcoming season. If the two sides can’t reach a deal, then both sides will have to go in the front of three-person panel arbitration committee. Three Astros players agreed to deals to avoid arbitration today, via Jake Kaplan.

There were eight players who were arbitration eligible, including Nori Aoki who already agreed to a $5.5 million dollar deal earlier. This was not a list of nobodies, it included 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. What about our new center fielder George Springer and defensive wizard Jake Marisnick? What about starting pitchers Collin McHugh and Mike Fiers and reliever Will Harris? You can’t win without the super-utility, Marwin Gonzalez.

As each year passes, the Astros payroll will rise with the money players get through arbitration. They might try to buy out some years of arbitration by extending contracts of some of the young stars. However, the Jon Singleton experience has made the front office a little antsy. Springer reportedly rejected a contract extension to be called up earlier in his career.

Aoki was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $6.8 million, so he settled for much less to play for the 2017 Astros. Let’s see how the three players agreeing to a deal today did compare to where they were projected.

Those who reached an agreement.

Keuchel was projected to make $9.5 million by MLB Trade Rumors, so the $9.1 million dollar figure both sides agreed upon was team friendly. After winning the Cy Young in 2015, injuries and struggles set him back in 2016. When asked about the agreement, Keuchel said via Brian McTaggart, “I had a down year and didn’t pitch as well. I wasn’t expecting as big of a bump as I did the first year.”

If Keuchel can return to form, that would be a good deal for Houston’s ace pitcher. Springer was projected to get $4.6 million in his first year of eligibility, but instead, he agreed to a $3.9 million dollar deal with Houston. Like Keuchel’s, this was noticeably below his projections. Marisnick and the Astros agreed to a $1.1 million dollar deal, which is exactly what was projected.

Those who have not reached an agreement.

Using elimination, you know that McHugh, Fiers, Gonzalez, and Harris all remain without a deal. The Astros have to agree on a number with these players soon or risk having to go in front of the panel. While the Astros won last year versus Jason Castro, they lost when he had little interest in returning to Houston. The hearings are not good for either side because the arbitrator has to pick one of the proposals.

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There is no middle ground during the hearing, the player either wins (desired salary) or loses and plays for the lower team desired contract. Harris filed for $2.3 million while the Astros countered with $1.95 million, via Jake Kaplan. MLB Trade Rumors predicted $2.5 million, so if the two can’t agree on a deal, the Astros will have to prove why he is not worth $2.3 million. As we saw with Castro, you lose by winning.

Typically, the two sides agree to something in the middle to avoid the arbitration hearings. We don’t know what was actually filed for the others yet, but we know the projections. Fiers and McHugh were projected to make $4.3 and $4.6 million respectively. While Gonzalez is due to make around $3.6 million. Updated, he is asking for $4.2 million via McTaggart.

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The Astros have a few weeks to make a deal or start scheduling hearings in February. Either way, these four players will be big factors on the team this year.

***Salary projections via MLB Trade Rumors***