Ok, not quite time to prepare for war, but it's still surprising to see the Astros disagreeing here, of all places.
The Houston Astros were one of the few teams that had multiple players that were expected to get eight figures in arbitration this year. Both Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker ranked among the most expensive projected arbitration agreements and many thought that at least one of them would end up in front of an arbitrator this year.
However, that is not how things worked out. Houston managed to settle with 6 of their 7 players who were arbitration eligible including both Valdez and Tucker who got $12.1 million and $12 million respectively. Sadly, they weren't able to get the clean sweep as Mauricio Dubon was the lone holdout that is heading to an arbitration hearing this year.
Mauricio Dubon is surprisingly the Astros' only arbitration hearing in 2024
On the surface, it does look like the difference in Dubon's and Houston's filing figures is small enough at $500K that the two sides should have been able to come to an agreement. However, looks can be deceiving with such things as players and teams generally file at the terms they feel as though they can win in arbitration and those numbers can be significantly different from the salaries they were pushing for during settlement negotiations.
In terms of who is likely come out on top in Dubon's arbitration hearing, it sure seems like the player has the edge here. While Dubon is a utility infielder who doesn't usually play all the time, he does get regular at-bats and is an excellent defender. His representatives are very likely to point out that he won a Gold Glove award last season while also slashing .278/.309/.411 in almost 500 plate appearances. At his $3.5 million ask in arbitration, that seems more than reasonable.
The Astros are fortunate that Dubon's relatively mild hearing is all they have to deal with this year. If Tucker and/or Valdez went to arbitration, there could have been some big dollars in play as well as potential hurt feelings that could hurt contract extension talks down the line.