The Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. skirting the arbitration process.
The deadline for teams and players to exchange salary figures prior to arbitration isn’t until Jan. 10th, but the Astros and Lance McCullers Jr. won’t have to worry about that. They have agreed to a one-year $4.1 million deal.
The salary is right along the line of what he was projected to get if they were to go to arbitration and is the same amount he brought in last season. They also included the same award bonuses into this year’s contract that he would have gotten if he played last season. McCullers missed all of the 2019 season after reconstructive surgery on his elbow.
If you’ll remember, back in August of 2018, McCullers was diagnosed with a torn UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). But he decided to do some rehab, finish out the 2018 season, and pitch in the playoffs for the Astros. McCullars finished his rehab and returned to the team in late September of that year.
McCullers has completed a long and difficult rehabilitation process and is ready to return to the starting rotation for the upcoming season and declares himself ready for 2020.
"“My rehab is officially complete. I will be full go for the 2020 season. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I can not wait to put my uni on again and go get it with my dawgs. Blessings.” via his Twitter account."
He has a 3.67 ERA and a 29-22 record in his four-year career with the Astros. In his first two seasons, McCullers had an ERA of 3.22. The following seasons his ERA rose to 4.25 in 2017 and a 3.86 in 2018. Probably an indication that he was pitching through injuries and pain those two years.
With McCullers now under contract for another year, the Astros still have six players eligible for arbitration; George Springer. Carlos Correa, Aledmys Diaz, Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski, and Roberto Osuna. But there’s still time for any one of those players and the Astros to make a deal.