The deadline for teams and players to file salaries prior to arbitration is gone. Four Astros have settled, while Houston and George Springer are far apart.
Before Friday’s deadline had passed, the Astros had six players still eligible for arbitration. Carlos Correa, Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, and Roberto Osuna all came to a settlement to avoid arbitration. Aledmys Diaz and George Springer are still in disagreement with the front office and are likely headed to the tables for hearings.
Carlos Correa got a sizable raise, agreeing to a one-year $8 million contract for the upcoming season. The $3 million increase was even slightly more than the $7.4 million salary that he was projected to get if they went to arbitration. He still has one more year left to be eligible for arbitration before he is able to become a free agent in 2022.
Roberto Osuna and the Astros agreed on a $10 million deal for next season. That’s an increase of $3.5 million over his 2019 earnings and right along with what was projected. Chris Devenski settled on a salary of $2 million to avoid arbitration, a $475 K increase over what he earned last season. Like Correa, both players are still under team control for another year.
Rounding out the pitchers that were arbitration-eligible, Brad Peacock will get $3.9 million in 2020. That’s good for nearly $800 K more than this past season. I’m a little surprised Peacock settled on that number, considering that the pundits were projecting he would get $4.6 million if the two went to arbitration. He will be eligible for free agency in 2021.
Aledmys Diaz submitted a salary of $2.6 million for next season while the Astros filed for $2 million. Diaz has earned $2 million a year for the last four years, including the one-year contract that brought him to Houston. He still has two seasons left under team control and it seems he’ll be heading for arbitration this season.
Finally, there is the huge $5 million gap the Astros and George Springer are looking at bringing to the arbitration tables. Springer filed for $22.5 million, a significant amount more than Houston’s $17.5 million counteroffer. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, it’s the biggest difference between a player and their team this season.
The salary mlbtraderumors.com projected that Springer would receive through the arbitration process is $21.4 million, not far off of what he submitted. Although that is quite the raise over last season’s earnings of $11 million, I think he’s worth every penny of what he’s asking.
His 156 wRC+ was second only to Mike Trout among American League outfielders and his 6.5 WAR was the third-highest, just a hair under the 6.6 of Mookie Betts. Springer’s bat isn’t his only asset, he’s pretty darn good out in the field also. Among outfielders with 100 games or more this season, he was third in the AL with an 11 rdrs (defensive runs saved above average).
I know the Astros are in a bit of a payroll constraint this year, but there are certain players that you just have to suck it up and pay them. Springer is one of those players. There’s still time, sign him up to a long-term extension and be done with it. Next year he becomes a free agent and it may just be too late. The Astros have lost five straight arbitration hearings and I have a feeling that streak will continue.