There has been a lot of rumors circling the Houston Astros this offseason, and they are not good. As the writers at the Crawfish Boxes wrote about, it’s a tough time for Astros fans to deal with everything. Fans want a sense of normalcy, like what are the Astros going to do this offseason to try to win it all again in 2020? You know, what bloggers are supposed to be talking about during the offseason.
We have seen nine players become free agents this offseason. There is no sure thing that any of them will return, but at least we now know that one of the players due arbitration will not go through the process this offseason. That is Yuli Gurriel, who had a breakout season setting new career highs in most hitting categories.
No Arbitration for Yuli.
Gurriel already had $8 million guaranteed for the 2020 season, but his contract allowed him to become arbitration-eligible. He could then potentially go for more in the arbitration process should he choose too. The Astros probably knew that he had a good chance to win an arbitration hearing.
Last season, Gurriel batted .298 with 31 homers and 104 RBI. His homers increased by 72% from his previous career-high of 18 in 2017 and RBI increased by 22% from his career-high of 85 in 2018. His OPS+ increased by 4 points from his career-high in 2017 of 121 to 125 in 2019.
Astros save some money.
Sportrac had his estimated salary for 2020 at $8.7 million. So, Gurriel was able to negotiate with the Astros to get $8.3 million for the 2020 season. He signed the one year deal and the Astros gave him the $300k bonus, according to Jesse Sanchez. Last season Gurriel made $10.4 million, but his salary has been on the decline based on the deal he signed with the Astros.
While Gurriel takes another pay cut for the 2020 season, it allows more wiggle room to try to get under the luxury tax threshold. For a MLB baseball team, $400k savings is not a big deal, but we are talking about the Astros who like to save every penny possible. With a projected salary around $220 million without adding any other players, look for more salary dumping moves this offseason.
Unlike most players, Yuli will become a free agent after the 2020 season with only four plus years of MLB service. He will be able to test free agency at the age of 36, so the Astros could potentially re-sign him. However, he would not likely be playing for what the Astros would want to pay him.
This is one of the first moves the Astros will be making this offseason. Gurriel has added a veteran presence to the Astros and has become a great defensive first baseman as we saw in the 2019 World Series.