The Houston Astros roster is build on player control. The Astros haven't been big players in the free agent market, though they have attempted, and have cultivated a crop of prospects.
As part of that player control, teams don't have to hand out big contracts but they do have to go through salary arbitration. The first step was tendering contracts to players that are eligible for salary arbitration with three to six years of major league service.
The Astros extended offers to six players Dallas Keuchel, Luis Valbuena, Jason Castro, Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, and Josh Fields. Houston did not extended an offer to Chris Carter and traded away Hank Conger instead of extending an offer. Carter was projected to make $5.6 million in arbitration per MLB Rumors -- instead signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers for one year, $2.5 million.
Per MLBTradeRumors.com, Keuchel is expected to get the biggest bump following a 2015 CY Young award winning season in which he posted a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 33 starts. The Astros ace is projected to get $6.4 million in 2016, a 5,875,500 dollar increase from 2015 ($524,500).
Here is the breakdown from MTR:
|2016 Astros arbitration-Eligible players|
|Player||Service Time||2015 salary||2016 Projected Salary*|
|Luis Valbuena||5.148||$4.2 MM||$5.8 MM|
|Jason Castro||5.104||$4.0 MM||$4.6 MM|
|Marwin Gonzalez||3.133||$1.1 MM||$1.9 MM|
|Dallas Keuchel||3.089||$525 K||$6.4 MM|
|Josh Fields||3.000||$517 K||$800 K|
|Evan Gattis||3.000||$527 K||$3.4 MM|
In total, the Astros could see an increase of $23 million if the numbers play out as projected. Houston's overall payroll could top $80 million when things are said and done.
Now that contracts have been tendered and players have filed for arbitration, the next step comes friday when players and teams trade salary numbers for 2016.
The Astros have a good track record of resolving salary issues before they reach arbitration. If the two sides don't reach a deal by February, they will then head to a arbitration hearing -- which can sometimes get nasty.