The Astros have six players eligible for arbitration this offseason.
As we move through the offseason, much of the focus lies on the players the Astros are (or are not) adding through free agency and the trade market. But there’s still plenty of work to be done with regard to the six players on the roster who are currently eligible for arbitration.
Players with three or more years of service time, but less than six years, are not eligible for free agency unless their team releases them, so if the club and player do not agree to a contract for the upcoming season, they would go to arbitration to settle the issue. The Astros’ unsigned players who are eligible for arbitration are George Springer, Carlos Correa, Roberto Osuna, Brad Peacock, Aledmys Diaz and Chris Devenski.
The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures is Jan. 10, meaning if a deal is not reached between the two parties by then, each side must submit a figure they believe the player should be paid for the 2020 season. If there is still no deal reached before the arbitration hearing in February, a panel of arbitrators will choose one side’s salary figure.
Both sides can continue to negotiate one-year or multi-year deals until the arbitration hearing, so the door is not closed yet. But the most likely outcome is that the Astros agree to one-year deals with their players rather than signing them to multi-year contracts at this point.
The Astros initially had 10 arbitration-eligible players when the offseason started. Jake Marisnick was traded to the Mets and Aaron Sanchez was non-tendered, while Lance McCullers Jr. and Joe Biagini have since agreed to one-year deals with the club.
Springer is the highest-profile case the club has due to the fact that he will be eligible for free agency following the 2020 season. MLBTradeRumors projects him to come away with a $21.4 million salary this year, which is a sizable bump from the $12 million he made in 2019. It’s a reflection of just how good a season Springer had.
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Correa is projected to make $7.4 million next season after making $5 million in 2019. He played well when healthy last year, but “when healthy” are the operative words. He appeared in just 75 games, the fewest of his career, which hurts his earning power. He’ll have one more run through arbitration before being eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.
Osuna put together a fine year, leading the league in saves and leading the majors in games finished. He’s projected to earn $10.2 million in 2020 after making $6.5 million in 2019. He’s also quite young, only turning 25 in February, meaning he can hit free agency in advance of his age-27 season.
Peacock, like Springer, is in his final time being arbitration eligible. He earned $3.11 million in 2019 and is projected to earn $4.6 million in 2020. Injuries contributed to him posting his least effective season since 2015, but a healthy Peacock at that price could be a bargain for the Astros.
Diaz made $2 million and is arbitration eligible for the first time. He’s projected to earn $2.4 million in 2020 after appearing in only 69 games due to injury. He was a solid contributor when healthy, however, and could play fairly regularly if he can stay on the field next season. He’ll have two more trips through arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2022 season.
Devenski’s case is a little different. He made $1.525 million in 2019 and had a club option at $2.825 million for 2020, which the Astros declined. He’s coming off two poor seasons, so it’s highly unlikely he gets that much via arbitration. He’s projected to earn $2 million for the upcoming season and can be a free agent after the 2021 season.