Astros: Salary at stake for 10 players as arbitration deadline nears

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The deadline for Astros’ players and the front office to submit their salary figures for arbitration is Friday, Jan. 11, with ten players eligible.

Per MLB rules, all players that are not under contract, with three to six years of service, are eligible for salary arbitration. Some players that have between 2-3 years service that meet certain criteria are also eligible. Those that fall into that category are considered “Super Two” players. The Astros have eight pitchers and two position players that are eligible for arbitration this season.

By the deadline, set for Jan. 11, each eligible player (or his agent) is required to file the salary figure they feel that they should receive, and in return the team’s front office is also required to file a figure they think the player is worth. These salaries are typically based on the salaries of comparable players and their recent contracts.

Even after the salaries are filed by the teams and the players, the two are still able to reach an agreement and avoid arbitration hearings all together. Many times this is the case within a week from the scheduled arbitration meeting.

In the case no agreement is made, the case is brought before a panel of three arbitrators to hear each sides argument. Then a decision is made by the panel to accept either the player’s proposed salary or the offer made by the team. There is no “in-between”, one salary or the other are the only options. A player can actually see his salary decrease, but by no more than a 20% drop.

Below are the projected arbitration salaries by MLB Trade Rumors for each Astro player eligible. They have been projecting arbitration salaries for eight years now, with surprisingly accurate results. In parentheses is the player’s service time. The first dollar figure is the projected 2019 arbitrated salary. I’ve added the second figure showing the amount the player received in 2018 as a comparison.

Gerrit Cole (5.111) – $13.1MM/$6.75MM
Roberto Osuna (3.097) – $6.5MM/$5.3MM
Collin McHugh (5.085) – $5.4MM/$5.0MM
Carlos Correa (3.119) – $5.1MM/$1.MM
Lance McCullers (3.140) – $4.6MM/$2.45MM
Will Harris (5.102) – $3.6MM/$2.8MM
Ryan Pressly (5.039) – $3.1MM/$1.6MM
Brad Peacock (4.165) – $2.9MM/$2.44MM                                                                                                  Jake Marisnick (4.132) – $2.4MM/$1.9MM
Chris Devenski (3.000) – $1.4MM/$599K

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As you can see, if these projections are anywhere close, there are a few Astro players set to receive a significant raise. Also, if they hold true, the total payroll increase for these ten players will be in the $18 million range. Hopefully, most will reach an agreement and avoid arbitration. If not, stay tuned in February, come hearing time.