Contract tenders: The next off-season deadline for Astros

The Astros have until midnight on Friday to decide whether to tender contracts for their arbitration-eligible players. If players are not tendered a contract they become free agents. If they are tendered a contract, they are considered signed and enter the arbitration process where both parties submit numbers. They can settle before going to arbitration or leave it up to a hearing and an arbitrator.

Here are the 11 Astros eligible for arbitration and guesstimated salaries for 2019 from …..
Gerrit Cole (5.111) – $13.1MM
Roberto Osuna (3.097) – $6.5MM
Collin McHugh (5.085) – $5.4MM
Carlos Correa (3.119) – $5.1MM
Lance McCullers (3.140) – $4.6MM
Will Harris (5.102) – $3.6MM
Ryan Pressly (5.039) – $3.1MM
Brad Peacock (4.165) – $2.9MM
Jake Marisnick (4.132) – $2.4MM
Chris Herrmann (4.128) – $1.5MM
Chris Devenski (3.000) – $1.4MM

No-brainers. Hard to see any reason to not tender a contract to Cole, Osuna, McHugh, Correa, McCullers, Pressly, Peacock and Devenski.

Some people might argue that Osuna is not worth that much, but note that the definition of “much” has changed with the contracts being handed out to free agents these days. Plus, you did not trade for him as a rental.

Some might say that you are paying McCullers to basically do nothing in 2019 but heal. But you are actually paying to keep control of a 25-year-old through the 2021 season, who has at times shown devastating stuff.

Some may say that Chris Devenski was finally figured out last season and needs to be replaced with a bigger arm. Please, note that on July 10th he had a sparkling 1.73 ERA. In his next four appearances (leading into a month-long stay on the DL) he gave up 11 of the 22 runs he allowed on the season in just 2.1 innings of work. If you put aside these four appearances where he was likely hurt he had a 2.20 ERA on the season.

Questionable. There are some questions about the other three gentlemen included here – Will Harris, Jake Marisnick and Chris Herrmann.

The first reaction with Harris is that the team will not necessarily have a place for him after a so-so 2018. The mind tells us he failed a lot in 2018, but the truth is he was pretty solid down the stretch when they needed help the most. In his last 13 appearances from mid-August to the end of the season, he was not charged with a run. In his last 22 appearances from mid-July to the end of the season, there was only one game where he allowed inherited runners to score (three in that one game). So, it’s not a no-brainer that they let him go.

Jake Marisnick was a big disappointment in 2018 offensively after a decent showing in 2017. He still managed a 1.7 WAR due to his fielding prowess. If the front office thought they were going to get 2017 JFSF back this would be a no-brainer, but is he going to hold onto a spot when youngsters like Myles Straw and Kyle Tucker are waiting in the wings?

Chris Herrmann may be a no-brainer at this point due to the fact that the Astros have only two catchers on the 40 man roster with MLB experience after letting Martin Maldonado, Brian McCann and Evan Gattis test the free agent waters.

These three spots will telegraph a lot of what the front office is thinking here, because the main reason they would not tender these three players contracts for a piddly total of about $7.5 million (OK – piddly to baseball, not piddly to you and me) is that they need these spots clear for the use of others that they intend to put on the 40-man, such as free agents or those brought in by trades. Its just a guess, but the most likely to not be tendered would be Marisnick followed by Harris and then Herrmann.

Your turn now…who would you tender or more importantly not tender, if you were Jeff Luhnow?


85 comments on “Contract tenders: The next off-season deadline for Astros

  1. In my opinion, Cole, Osuna, Correa, McHugh, LMJ and Pressly are locks.
    I believe the rest are dependent on what the club plans to do about adding players from outside to the roster.
    If the team has plans to add a starting outfielder, they may not want to pay Marisnick’s salary because they have Kemp and Straw at much lower salaries and they may need the money somewhere else.
    If the team has eyes on a big name addition to the bullpen, they may not want to pay Harris and then have to move him later. I believe Harris’s age is a factor, as is his status as a free agent in 2020.
    It’s really the same story for all the guys. What are the Astros desires as far as upgrading? If you plan on upgrading, somebody has to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It appears that assistant pitching coordinator Chris Holt is leaving the Astros to become the pitching coordinator of the Orioles, under Mike Elias.


  3. I’m not excited about Osuna getting a raise, but that’s the way the game is played. I’d go to arbitration if he doesn’t accept the Astros offer.

    I don’t mind seeing McHugh get a raise. He should get paid for past contributions and being jerked around last year. It’s hard to imagine a player answering the bell any better than he did.

    I really like Harris but don’t think he’s worth it. He’s fantastic to start the year and it looks like his arm is going to fall off every August. Perhaps if we told him to skip spring training and aim for a June start to the season it could work.

    Devenski had terrible command of his fastball last year. When you can’t locate the fastball the opposing team will just sit on offspeed stuff. I see this as a make it or break it year for him. Relievers, as I say often, are volatile.

    Our outfield is kind of scary right now. What Reddick are we getting in 2019? Can anyone play CF other than Springer? Is Fisher going to be as awful as he was in 2018? I hope Luhnow is looking for help here.

    Liked by 3 people

    • i agree that outfield is a priority as well. thats one reason i think marisnick has a chance to be tendered. his hitting is suspect, but his defense and speed have value. i want to see what straw and tucker can do, but neither is proven on the major league level as yet. depending on who they bring in and how they work out, you may see all three of the above next season.


  4. I’m not as concerned with a relievers runs allowed, sometimes they don’t control that. They leave a guy on first, and they don’t always get the opportunity to get those guys out behind them.

    I think their swing and miss numbers, BABIP against, etc tell us more about them. In that regard, it looks like hitters figured out to go the other way on him this year. His line drive rates went way up, as did the BABIP against, and it was the curve ball that wasn’t as successful. It just looks he tried to be the exact same pitcher, hitters adjusted, and he didn’t adjust with them.

    As I write this he was non-tendered this morning, I wish him well in his future endeavors, he was better than serviceable the WS year, and still not terrible. I think the adjustments the Astros number crunchers could have made with him in mixing it up some could have returned him back to 2017 but we will never know.


  5. It will be interesting. Check out the latest trade rumors on MLB. Astros and Evoldi and Desmond and Lavigne from Colorado for Reddick. I’m not sure which Reddick will show up in 2019 but the regression bothers me. Definitely need to unload some of those older arms and under performers in the Bull pen.


  6. My question is whether any of those borderline guys have trade value at the projected salaries. I think Jake would at $2.4M and Devo at $1.4M. If so, why not tender and then use as a trade chip? I think they tender Herrrrmannnn, especially since we have learned how to spell his name.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sandy I think you saw the article that was speculating on the most likely non-tender candidate for each team and named Jake as the most likely for the Astros.


  7. Under the radar guys I could see the Astros possibly being interested in are Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Corey Dickerson of the Pirates.
    I just have the feeling something big is going to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Piddly. Piddly. Piddly. (Try that with Allen Iverson voice,) I think in baseball today, you pay the money now and maybe eat one or two come end of ST. Until you have your roster settled, it is hard to believe, but Jake (example only) may be better than what you can get. If you are going for the ring, you can’t skip over anyone that might be on your 25 man come late Summer. Again, I say, Piddly.


  9. We don’t have a very impressive outfield at this point. I hope that changes soon, but for now, I doubt the club is any any real hurry to part ways with Jake. It’s the one area where we seem to end up with a hole every year unfortunately.


  10. TIC-TOC Jeff Luhnow. He’s chasing Eovaldi along with about 29 other GM’s.
    At this point I’d rather have Keuchel back in the fold…..who knows we just might do that very thing.
    2 more starting pitchers
    A really good catcher
    A really good left fielder
    A really good bullpen lefty
    That’s not too much to ask is it?!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. So right now the Astros have 38 players on their 40 man roster. What are their options / suboptions? (And I’m sure there are a lot more than what I am showing here)
    – Tender all 11 arb candidates
    – Then they could add 2 free agents without making a roster move
    – Or… they could add two players by trade (trading non-40 man prospects) without making a roster move
    – Or they could add more than 2 free agents or players by trade if they let some one off the 40 man go (Brady Rodgers? Reymin Guduan? Dean Deetz?)
    – Or include someone off the 40 man roster in a trade – these extra roster moves probably don’t happen until after the Rule 5 draft in a couple weeks.

    -Non-tender a player or two out of Harris and Marisnick (the more I think about it – I think Herrmann is safe)
    – Then you could add 3 or 4 players by free agent or trade (trading non-40 man prospects) without a 40 man roster move

    My gut is telling me that the front office could well decide to kick the can down the road and tender all eleven and then take care of 40 man roster moves when/if they need to …..


    • I guess the Astros could kick the can down the road. But, does a team that wins a WS and then trades for Cole seem like a can-kicker?
      If the Astros are looking to upgrade the outfield, that means they want to find an outfielder who is better than what they have. When they find that outfielder and add him to their team, they will then have three backup outfielders on their team in Kemp, Straw and Marisnick, not to mention Tucker, Fisher and Alvarez. The most expensive and oldest of those will be the hardest one to trade. I’m not saying that Jake isn’t worth the money. He probably is and will probably get his money elsewhere. But he will get that money from a non-competing team. A team that want to win the WS cannot afford a 4th outfielder who can’t hit. And Jake Marisnick can’t hit. He was a well below average hitter in his sixth year in the league. We are not talking about JD Martinez here.
      I really don’t care if somebody loves him. Marry him and then find an outfielder who doesn’t strike out 36% of the time.


      • I guess by kicking the can I mean – they tender Jake – settle before or with arbitration and then trade him for something even if it is a very low level A pitcher if they do pick up a veteran OF.
        The worst that would happen is if they can’t trade him they would have to swallow $2 million bucks like they did with Singleton.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. And if the Astros want to take care of that $2+ million can of worms, they can do it in the next 36 hrs. or so.


  12. Guess what I read this week:
    Noah Synderblock is the best fit for the Astros.
    Zac Greinke is the best fit for the Astros.
    Nate Eovaldi is the best fit for the Astros.
    James Paxton is the best fit for the Astros.
    J A Happ is the best fit for the Astros.
    Patrick Corbin is the best fit for the Astros.
    Dallas Keuchel is the best fit for the Astros.
    Charlie Morton is the best fit for the Astros.
    Paul Goldbat is the perfect fit for the Astros
    Nelson Cruise is the perfect fit for the Astros.
    Bryce Harper is the perfect fit for the Astros
    Jon Gomes should be the Astros target at catcher.
    Grandal should be the Astros target at catcher.
    JT Realmuto is the perfect fit for the Astros at catcher.
    Wilson Ramos is the perfect fit for the Astros at Catcher.
    Jason Castro is answer at catcher for the Ast…. wait just a minute. I did not read that!


    • 1OP, I get it. But if none of those guys own one of those outfield positions, then we underachieve in the outfield once again this year. I don’t think Luhnow will let that happen. We both agree that something big is going to happen. I think there will be more than one big thing take place, including in the outfield. We’ve got another opportunity to go deep into the post season. Luhnow will make the club better.


  13. Reds are chasing Keuchel and or Happ. Look, I might be on this side by myself, but I absolutely can NOT STAND J.A. Happ. I saw enough of his attitude when he got traded here with the Oswalt trade. If Luhnow signs him, I won’t be watching his starts. I’m not kidding.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I gave up on trying to figure out Luhnow, but enjoy the results. But Seattle must be scratching their collective heads. Dipoto trades Paxton. Now is apparently trading Diaz and Cano plus probably sending monies to the Mets. He is at least getting back Jay Bruce who posted an OPS of .680 last year. And we complain about Jake at .674. And Swarzak a pitcher with a negative WAR last year.


  15. 45, Jake is not the answer in the outfield. I’d rather have Straw today in his back up role even without any real Straw stats to go by.

    Jake is worthless in a tight post season game, because you really can’t bring him in for defensive purposes. If he ends up having to hit, it’s a lost at bat.

    I can fully understand why Luhnow might give all these guys a contract. If someone does not want to absorb all of a Jake contract for instance, we can always pay part of it. It would not break the bank.

    Can we take an unofficial Straw poll? Is it time to move on from Jake?


  16. In case you missed Jeff Luhnow on Astroline last night, here is what he didn’t say:
    -This has been a slow hot stove season for the Astros because there is no one left in the front office to answer the phone.
    -Brett Strom was named Coach of the Year because there isn’t any other coaches.
    -The Astros had a number of holes to fill on their club and Aledyms Diaz filled them all.
    -Our #1 prospect, Kyle Tucker is untouchable.
    -We are happy with What’s His Name as our Assistant GM.
    -Carlos Correa’s nose will no longer interfere with his swing.
    -We are happy with the players we have. We are not happy with the players the Red Sox have.
    -We have called the Indians about adding Trevor Bauer to our PR staff. We don’t know if they have called back, because of our office situation.
    -We made a lucrative one-year offer to Dallas Keuchel. If he changes his mind, he won’t call, he will have to fax me and I will get that the next morning.
    -We have a lot of talks going on at this time. So many, in fact, that Aledmys is having trouble keeping up with all of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Schoop non-tendered.
    Shelby Miller non-tendered.
    Robbie Grossman was projected to make $4.0 million and got non-tendered. Remember all those Grossman vs Marisnick discussions we used to have.


    • And discussions was the good way of putting it. Sometimes we sounded like a family thanksgiving dinner that uncle bob “accidentally” started talking politics 🤫.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, and I will fess up and say I was a big part of that family interaction. But that was before I became enlightened to the gentler way of blogging. Now, I just act butthurt and get antsy.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. We lost an Astro fan last night who also happened to be our 4st President. He was a rich kid who insisted on enlisting in the Navy at 18, flying torpedo runs while still a teen. We don’t make them like that anymore.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Did you know that after Yuli Gurriel’s current contract expires, the Astros have two more years of service with him because of arbitration?
    Sometimes I find it hard to open my eyes and see the big picture:
    -Gurriel took months to fully recover from his hand surgery.
    -The Astros #1 catcher was not useful for the entire season.
    -The Astros young SS was virtually useless for the second half of the season.
    -The Astros MVP second baseman played the last half of the season with a broken kneecap.
    -The Astros center fielder actually was playing with two injuries the last half of the year.
    -The Astros closer blew up and was gone by the second half of the year.
    -One of the Astros starting pitchers played the last few months with a partially torn UCL in his throwing arm.
    -One of the Astros bullpen pitchers that they were counting on, Chris Devenski, was almost not there the second half of the season.
    -The 2017 leader in RBIs for Houston could not get his game even close to that level in 2018.
    Yet, they won their division and lost the ALCS to the World Series Champions.
    I need to focus better and get rid of these ants.

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a magnificent turnaround from “ants in pants”! So well written about how close we should have been to a repeat. That we were severely banged up, combined with Cora’s intimate knowledge of our soft spots, and finally the elite play of Betts Martinez Price & Co. — all this resistance combined to keep us at bay, and just shy of our enormous potential in 2018.

      There has a been lot written about Gurriel’s overalll mediocre offensive numbers since becoming an Astro, but he actually pushed himself too soon from hamate surgery (9 months is a full recovery), as that should become evident next season.

      Whether Correa will ever be the same is the biggest question going into 2019. That makes me much more antsy, than signing an OF.

      Before we make that move we’d have to lose Reddick, guys with no options (Kemp, and/or White), because we already have Diaz, Tucker, Straw, Jake, Fisher and Alvarez.. Not to mention Ronnie Dawson, Seth Beer (#7), and Abe Toro who will may be vying for playing time in late 2019; and Matijevic and McKenna, whose bat will play soon thereafter. The more combinations of defensive shifts allows players to experiment all over the field.

      Hinch said last year in February when talking about handing the LF job to Fisher, “obviously, there will be some competition. We have a versatile enough roster I can mix and match a little bit. Those and the at-bats at DH are going to be the ones that are the most open.” I don’t think much changes this offseason, frankly.

      I do wish we’d hurry and sign Ramos, but the delay on signing a catcher, since it’s vital a new one comes in and gets quickly acclimated, tells me the Astros are willing to roll with Stassi Stubbs, or more probably, already have a deal in mind for Grindal/Ramos/Realmuto. If a deal could be done with Alvarez Bukauskas Martin and Stassi for Realmuto and a lotto pic possibly, I’m still a little iffy on that one, mainly because JT is only under control for 2/yrs, and that’s a volitile position. And because Bukauskas has been clocked at 95 mph slider — I want to see what Strommie can do with him.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. The outfield situation is pretty simple. If Luhnow finds the right guy, he’ll have no problem making room. Immediately, Fisher comes to mind. Jake too. Straw replaces him without doing a whole lot. And all the prospects, sure, we want to see what they can do before we lose them. But they are all still prospects. Tucker is our present cautionary tale of prospects. I think he’s going to turn the corner, but no prospect is an automatic. Reddick still keeps his job in right, unless Luhnow gets two guys and that is unlikely.

    Most importantly to me is that Tony Kemp is overrated. Yes he did have a positive impact when we really needed it. He brought a spark. But it is unacceptable for us to have a starting left fielder with a .743 OPS. That’s way too soft. And looking at his second half, he hit .234 with a .318 OBP, .365 slugging and a .683 OPS. Beyond that, he’s a mediocre defender.

    Our outfield situation is precarious in 2 of 3 positions. It was our one real flaw in 2018. I’m convinced Luhnow will react.


  21. Agree with a lot of the comments here. I don’t look at Kemp being overrated but just not we need in the long run. He’s also not a regular left fielder so I think you might be too hard on him. I think we like him because of his hustle. I don’t know about you but I saw some of our more established players failing to run out ground balls. I often saw on numerous occasions us beating out or almost beating them out for hits. When we run hard it puts pressure on the defender and thus he’s more apt to hurry the throw and make a mistake. No substitute fr hustle. As for the outfield, we’re stuck with Reddick unless a trade can be arranged, otherwise we need two outfielders. Jake, Fisher, Kemp are not the answer. I don’t consider them placeholders either. Straw and Tucker are the chosen ones but Tucker needs to come through this year or else he’s just another “flash in the pan”. Straw needs a shot at it. Spring Training will tell. I like others may think Correa might be on the “downside”. Injuries, and terrible plate discipline in the second half spoke volumes. Maybe he was believing all the hype about him w/o having to put his money up. I like his defense but he sure doesn’t belong in the #4 slot. More like 6 or 7 given the examples we saw. Maybe a trade here. No I’m not advocating it but if has another 2018 year his stock value will drop faster than you can say Jack Rabbit. I consider the next two years pivotal with the team. If things go right, then we’re in the hunt for another 3 – 5 years. If not, well I don’t like to think about it.


  22. No doubt Kemp is an overachiever. I just think his future numbers will be closer to his 2018 second half numbers. If there is room, I’m good with Kemp and Straw as 4 and 5. That might mean 12 pitchers though.

    Correa was great in 2017. A different player at the plate in 2018. I don’t think he’s been figured out. I think he got hurt, got bad habits, pressed and got worse. I’ll be very surprised if he does not correct. We don’t really need a true #4 hitter if we have guys up and down the line up doing their jobs.


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