Salary arbitration, specifically, is defined by The Sporting News as “when a team or player cannot agree to a salary number for the upcoming season.” Fortunately for the Astros, they won’t have to worry about that for two players already on the team.
McCullers is expected to make $6.5 million next year, more than he made in 2020. His new contract includes bonuses for making the All-Star team or winning a Gold Glove ($50,000) and depending on how he finishes in the Cy Young Award race, he could make between $50,000 (3rd) to $100,000 (1st) in extra cash.
Last season, McCullers finished with a 3.93 ERA with a 1.164 WHIP in 55 innings. He also made three starts in the postseason allowing eight runs over 14 2/3 innings. McCullers missed the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Diaz appeared in 30 games last year, missing time due to a groin injury. He hit .241 with three home runs and six RBI’s before the injury. In his first postseason appearance, he was hitting .353 with a two-run home run in Game 3 of the American League Division Series against Oakland. Diaz has played multiple positions for the Astros including first, second, and third bases as well as being a left fielder.
The Astros signing McCullers and Diaz is standard procedure, but important at the same time. Teams that go to court can easily fracture relationships with their players. The icing on the cake for the Astros, however, would be signing shortstop Carlos Correa to a long-term deal to keep him in Houston. There are no signs that will be the case, but the team still has plenty of time to agree to a deal with the veteran to avoid going to an arbitration hearing.