The Astros’ All-Star right-hander is going to see quite a pay raise in 2019.
Pitchers and catchers reported for the Astros on Wednesday, which means that Spring Training is officially under way at West Palm Beach. But that wasn’t the only notable news as camp commenced as it was also announced that Gerrit Cole won his arbitration case against the Astros.
Cole, entering his last season before free agency, will now earn $13.5 million in 2019, which was slightly over $2 million more than what the Astros countered with earlier this offseason. He made $6.75 million last season.
Fresh off a season in which posted a 2.88 ERA across 200 1/3 innings with a career-best 34.5% strikeout rate, it comes to really no surprise that Cole won his case. Houston is now 0-5 since winning Jason Castro‘s arbitration case nearly three years ago; they lost their other arbitration case this year against Carlos Correa.
By the way, Cole also set a record for the largest salary ever awarded at an arbitration hearing.
For the Astros, Cole is the presumptive number two starter, behind Justin Verlander. Houston will need another strong season from Cole, because of multiple departures from the starting rotation. Of course, the elephant in the room now is how to address Cole’s long-term status with the club as he is scheduled to enter free agency following the 2019 season. It was encouraging to see that Cole did express an interest to staying with the Astros and that he is open to an extension.
In addition to Cole’s impending free-agent status, the Astros also have Verlander and Collin McHugh to worry about as both are also scheduled to enter free agency upon the conclusion of the upcoming season. We’ll see what happens between now and then, but Jeff Luhnow has his work cut out for him to retain most of the current core in the coming years.