The Astros reached agreement with seven arbitration eligible players, prior to Friday’s deadline. The remaining three are likely headed for arbitration hearings.
The deadline for the Astros‘ front office and players to reach agreement or file their salary figures for arbitration have come and gone. Houston was able to reach agreement with seven of the ten eligible players. That leaves three players at odds with management and will most likely be headed to arbitration in February.
Houston is known to be a “file and trial” organization. That essentially means that the management deems that deadline as a final date for negotiations. At times, a multi-year deal may be agreed upon, but one-year deals are typically off the table at this point.
The three players that remain without an agreement and probably headed to an arbitration trial are Gerrit Cole, Carlos Correa and Chris Devenski. Correa and Devenski both had what could be considered an off year last season, while Cole had one of his best years, in a comeback season
Correa filed a salary of $5 million for 2019, while Houston countered with $4.25 million, a difference of $750K. Correa had a slash line of .239/.323/.405. in 2018 with a WAR of 1.7. That was a significant drop-off to his All-Star season of 2017, when he possessed a slash line of .315/.391/.550 and a 5.9 WAR.
Devenski filed for $1.65 million, while the Astros filed $1.4 million, a $250K difference between the two. Devinski went from an All-Star season in 2017 to the worst season of his three-year career. In 2017 he had a 2.68 ERA and an ERA+ of 153. Last season he saw his ERA raise to 4.18, along with an increase in WHIP, HR/9 and H/9, all dropping his ERA+ to 97.
Cole filed $13.5 million, with the front office filing $11.425 million, a difference of $2.075 million. Cole is the exception of the last two players and happen to have an excellent season. He was selected to the All-Star team last season and finished fifth in the voting for the Cy Young Award. He ended the season with a 15-5 record and an ERA of 2.88 in his first year as an Astro. Cole had career best numbers in many statistics, including a 1.033 WHIP and 276 strikeouts.
Correa and Devenski still have two years before they become eligible for free agency, while Cole is in his final year of arbitration and will be a free agent in 2020. If no agreement is reached, it will all come down to the three person panel at the arbitration trial. If you were one of the panelists, which way would you go?