The Astros will have a busy off-season ahead. Perhaps none during Jeff Luhnow’s tenure has been more pivotal. The payroll will be higher, the stakes will be higher and the gulps, SMHs and hard decisions will also likely be greater.
Tim Dierkes has taken a look at the Astros’ likely arbitration numbers for the nine eligible players. Some of these are no brainers. Some the Astros should use as a launching pad to sign longer-term contracts. Others are not as clear.
Let’s take a look.
- Marwin Gonzalez (4.133) – $3.6MM
- Dallas Keuchel (4.089) – $9.5MM
- Evan Gattis (4.000) – $6.2MM
- Will Harris (3.102) – $2.5MM
- Mike Fiers (3.085) – $4.3MM
- Collin McHugh (3.085) – $4.6MM
- Brad Peacock (3.013) – $800K
- George Springer (2.166) – $4.7MM
- Jake Marisnick (2.145) – $1.1MM
In my book, all are virtual no brainers with the possible exceptions of Fiers.
Since none of these is entering their final year of arbitration, higher salaries are due even next year this time. As a result, the Astros should explore long-term deals with Keuchel, McHugh, Springer and perhaps even a 2-3 year deal wtih Harris and Gattis.
We’ll explore other pricing options, but setting these salaries early on will allow Luhnow to project his budget and realize what he’ll have to work with when the free agent season opens in a few weeks.
You may say that $3.6 million is too lofty for Gonzalez. Sorry, just pay the man and worry about other positions. Luhnow will pay at least $2 million for a good quality utility man anyway, so another $1.6 million for a known quantity who enjoys playing in Houston is a no-brainer in my book.
Yes, $1.1 million for Marisnick is another easy decision. You’re not putting him in center field as a starter, only adding him to the roster for a fourth or fifth option. If you can settle with him at $900,000 even better.
Depending on what else Luhnow intends to do with the rotation, even Fiers could be considered a good deal for Houston at $4.3 million. Again, you know what you have and all he’s done is start 30 games for the past two seasons. Dependable. Reliable. No, he won’t carry the team, but he can provide some quality IP over the season.