While most of the players that the Houston Astros have that are arbitration-eligible are going to end up making a relatively inconsequential amount of money, two players stood out as being in line to make a nice chunk of change. Both starter Framber Valdez and outfielder Kyle Tucker are among the best players at their positions in all of baseball and both are in the second to last year of arbitration which is when guys start getting pricey.
So far, there is no word on Valdez's arbitration situation and it would hardly be surprising to see him end up going to an arbitration hearing. However, after losing his arbitration case last year, it looks like Kyle Tucker isn't interested in trying his luck again going into 2024 as it was reported that the Astros and Tucker agreed on a $12 million contract for next season.
Kyle Tucker avoids arbitration and it won't cost the Astros a fortune
All things considered, this development is a welcome surprise. Most were predicting that Tucker was going to get closer to $13 million in arbitration this year depending on where you look. With the Astros' financial situation being complicated by a less lucrative TV deal going forward, it wouldn't have been altogether shocking if the team and Tucker were going to be too far apart and head to a hearing. By settling now, Houston gets a good price for one of their key players and both sides can engender some goodwill with each other.
Framber Valdez is the next domino to fall and the Astros aren't saving so much with Tucker's deal that they are all of a sudden going to go wild in free agency, but the two sides coming to an agreement does bode well for getting an extension done in the future. Astros general manager Dana Brown has said previously that he believes that Tucker is going to be with Houston for the long haul and insinuated that Tucker felt the same way.
Given how reasonable Tucker's arbitration settlement is vs. the industry's expectations, Brown may have been on to something.