Multiple agreements help the Astros avoid arbitration for seven players.
- RHP Ryan Pressly – $2.9 million
- RHP Brad Peacock – $3.11 million
- RHP Will Harris – $4.225 million
- RHP Lance McCullers Jr. – $4.1 million
- RHP Collin McHugh – TBA
- RHP Roberto Osuna – TBA
- OF Jake Marisnick – TBA
Pressly, one of Houston’s key acquisitions during the 2018 trade deadline, saw an increase of $1.3 million. His 0.77 ERA and 38.1% strikeout rate since joining the Astros was a needed boost to the club’s bullpen. The Texas native will be a free-agent following the conclusion of the 2019 season.
Another key reliever for the Astros last year was Peacock, who saw his salary jumped from $2.44 million. Although he saw his innings pitched decrease from 132 in 2017 to 65 last year, the age-30 pitcher still posted a 3.46 ERA and 3.47 FIP for Houston. Peacock is under club control through the 2020 season.
A one-time All-Star in 2016, Harris has seen his stock decrease recently. Following a 2.25 ERA in 2016 and a 2.98 ERA in 2017, the right-hander saw his earned run average inflate to 3.49, despite a 2.44 FIP. The Astros earlier this offseason elected to not exercise his 2018 club option for 2018, which included a salary of $5.5 million. However, the age-34 right-hander still saw a raise from $2.8 million in 2018, and he is scheduled to enter free agency along with Pressly next offseason.
The now-recovering McCullers, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier in the offseason. Scheduled to miss the entirety of the 2019 season, McCullers will see a raise from his $2.45 million salary from last year. Although the injury and subsequent surgery will setback the young right-hander, McCullers is still viewed as a long-term piece of Houston’s starting rotation.
Exclusively a reliever in 2018 when he earned $5 million, McHugh is now considered the club’s number three starter for the upcoming 2019 season. Even though McHugh pitched quite well in relief — 1.99 ERA in 72 1/3 innings — the Astros need him to start next season due to the departure of Charlie Morton and the injury to McCullers. Also, the expected departure of Dallas Keuchel suddenly leaves Houston without sixty percent of their Opening Day rotation from last season. McHugh is scheduled to be a free-agent following the 2019 season.
If there was a more controversial acquisition than Osuna last year, who made $5.3 million, then I don’t know about it. Even with the controversy and a late-inning collapse in the ALCS, Osuna did post a 1.99 ERA and 2.72 FIP for Houston across 22 2/3 regular season innings. Probably the Astros’ closer in 2019, the age-23 reliever is under club control through the 2021 season.
Figured to be one of the Astros’ backup outfielders in 2019, Marisnick reached a contract agreement for the upcoming season. Known for his defense and power along with an issue with making consistent contact, the age-27 outfielder probably needs a strong 2019 to remain a part of Houston’s plans in the long-term. Marisnick is under club control through the 2020 season.
As noted here by Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros will go to arbitration with three eligible players: Gerrit Cole, Carlos Correa, and Chris Devenski. Stay tuned for how those contract situations play out.