Astros: Gerrit Cole’s arbitration case should be a slam dunk

Gerrit Cole should easily win his case against the Astros’ front office when they go before an arbitration panel to decide his 2019 salary.

Assuming that Astros‘ management and Gerrit Cole don’t construct a multi-year deal, they will be stating their cases before a three-person arbitration panel. With Scott Boras being his agent, the odds of a long-term deal aren’t good. They will most likely win their arbitration case and go for the one-year contract, then go for the big money in free agency in 2020.

Cole filed for a salary of $13.5 million, while the Astros countered with $11.425 million for 2019, a difference of $2.075 million. The panel will decide on one figure or the other, based on the salaries of comparable pitchers, there is no middle of the road. Let’s take a look at how Cole fared against the rest of the pitchers in the league.

He had a record of 15-5 last season, a winning percentage of .750. That placed Cole in a two-way tie with Jon Lester for the fourth-best winning percentage in baseball per He bested players like Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer and J.A. Happ.

Cole was third in the league with 276 strikeouts and led the league with a very impressive average of 12.40 K/9. He was in the top ten in virtually every category for a pitcher including ERA (2.88), WHIP (1.033), ERA+ (140) and WAR (5.3).

He was fifth in the voting for the Cy Young Award behind Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, and Chris Sale. Cole was also one of the pitchers selected to represent the American League at the All-Star Game alongside many of the same pitchers.

When your name is consistently listed with the aforementioned pitchers, and you’re ranking in the top ten in most statistical categories, how can an arbitration panel not side with Gerrit Cole? Actually, with the performance level he showed in 2018, the smart money would be signing him to a long-term contract. But as stated earlier, that’s probably not likely going to happen. But we can always hope.