Team comes to one-year terms with seven play­ers

Houston Chronicle - - PRO FOOTBALL | BASEBALL - By Chan­dler Rome STAFF WRITER chan­[email protected] twit­ter.com/chan­dler_rome

Prior to Fri­day’s salary ex­change dead­line, the Astros agreed to one-year con­tracts with seven of their 10 ar­bi­tra­tion-el­i­gi­ble play­ers, but face hear­ings with the three with whom they could not come to terms.

Starter Gerrit Cole, short­stop Car­los Cor­rea and re­liever Chris Deven­ski did not strike a deal. The Astros, like a bevy of other clubs, are a “file-and-trial” team, mean­ing they do not ne­go­ti­ate one-year deals with ar­bi­tra­tionel­i­gi­ble play­ers af­ter Fri­day’s dead­line.

As­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Bran­don Taub­man, who over­sees the Astros’ ar­bi­tra­tion process, said “in the ab­sence of more in­for­ma­tion,” he be­lieves all three play­ers will go to ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ings. Those usu­ally take place in Fe­bru­ary.

Cole, a client of agent Scott Bo­ras, is en­ter­ing his fi­nal sea­son be­fore what prom­ises to be a lu­cra­tive foray into free agency. MLB Trade Ru­mors’ salary model pre­dicted the 28-year-old righthander to make $13.1 mil­lion in ar­bi­tra­tion — the high­est of the Astros’ 10-man con­tin­gent in that pro­jec­tion.

The same model pro­jected Cor­rea’s ar­bi­tra­tion salary at $5.1 mil­lion. This is the first ar­bi­tra­tion-el­i­gi­ble year for Cor­rea, 24, and Deven­ski, 28, whom MLB Trade Ru­mors pro­jected at a $1.4 mil­lion salary.

“I think ar­bi­tra­tion al­ways brings mixed emo­tions for us,” Taub­man said. “I am proud of the peo­ple who’ve been in­volved in the process on our end, I’m proud that we have a re­spon­si­ble process that rep­re­sents the Astros or­ga­ni­za­tion’s in­ter­ests and the mer­its of fair salary within the in­dus­try. But what we care about is win­ning base­ball games and pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of our play­ers. And this is a de­tour from that.”

The seven play­ers who agreed to deals in­clude out­fielder Jake Maris­nick, start­ing pitch­ers Lance McCullers Jr. and Collin McHugh and four re­liev­ers — Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Will Har­ris and Brad Pea­cock.

McCullers, 25, who will not pitch in 2019 af­ter un­der­go­ing Tommy John surgery, set­tled at $4.1 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the agree­ment.

Pressly re­ceived $2.9 mil­lion, Har­ris got $4.225 mil­lion and Pea­cock pulled in $3.11 mil­lion. Terms of each set­tle­ment were con­firmed to the Chron­i­cle by peo­ple with knowl­edge of the agree­ments not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly.

The salary is a $1.3 mil­lion raise for Pressly, 30. who made $1.6 mil­lion last sea­son with the Twins. Pressly pitched to a 0.77 ERA in 26 Astros ap­pear­ances af­ter his July ac­qui­si­tion, strik­ing out 32 in 23⅓ in­nings.

Af­ter an in­con­sis­tent sea­son from Har­ris, a 2016 All-Star re­liever, his $5.5 mil­lion club op­tion for 2019 was de­clined by the Astros in Novem­ber, mak­ing him ar­bi­tra­tion el­i­gi­ble. He will re­ceive $4.225 mil­lion this sea­son af­ter mak­ing $2.8 mil­lion in 2018 — a sea­son where he pitched to a 3.49 ERA in 56⅔ in­nings. Har­ris, 34, will be­come a free agent af­ter the 2019 sea­son.

Pea­cock, 30, the mid­dle re­liever who could be asked to start this sea­son given the club’s dearth of proven ro­ta­tion depth, re­ceived a $670,000 raise from his $2.44 mil­lion salary last sea­son. MLB Trade Ru­mors pro­jected Pea­cock would make $2.9 mil­lion in ar­bi­tra­tion this sea­son.

The Astros did not dis­close terms for the deals in­volv­ing Osuna, 23, McHugh, 31, or Maris­nick, 27.

“It’s im­pos­si­ble to script this, it re­ally comes down to how the clubs and the play­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives see the right value,” Taub­man said. “What al­most seems cer­tain ev­ery time is there is go­ing to be some mis­match in the val­u­a­tions but it’s im­pos­si­ble to know where or when those mis­matches may oc­cur.”

Brett Coomer / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Will Har­ris, left, will earn $4.225 mil­lion this sea­son af­ter mak­ing $2.8 mil­lion in 2018. The Astros are on the hook for $2.9 mil­lion for Ryan Pressly, cen­ter. Brad Pea­cock will take home $3.11 mil­lion be­fore taxes. No terms were avail­able for Roberto Osuna.

Brett Coomer / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Karen War­ren / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

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