Two of the three remaining arbitration cases for the Astros have concluded. Reliever Chris Devenski settled with the Astros to avoid the arbitration hearing, it was confirmed Monday. The two sides were only $250,000 apart and they decided to split the difference. The Astros had asked for $1.4 million in arbitration while Devenski wanted $1.65 million. The agreed salary will be $1.525 million. The two sides also agreed on a club option for 2020 that would pay between $2.625 and $2.925 million based on games pitched.
Correa: Is his back back?
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Carlos Correa, the team's former first overall pick and AL Rookie of the Year, won his $5.0 million salary it was announced Tuesday. The Astros were asking $4.25 million. Correa praised the professional way the Astros handled his case. The difference comes down to whether you evaluate Correa's 2018 season or his entire career so far. Correa suffered a hurt back in mid-season and hit poorly even after a long layoff. He has said his back is healed and he'll be ready for action when camp opens up later this month.
One case remains on the docket - this one for starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. The Astros offered $11.425 million for the righthander while Cole requested $13.5 million. Cole becomes a free agent after the season if the Astros don't sign him to an extension and if he does not accept the qualifying offer prior to testing free agency.
Cole may want to check with former Astros Dallas Keuchel, Tony Sipp, Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis before expecting greener pastures. All four are still unsigned as of this writing. The Astros are said to have had discussions about bringing back Keuchel and Gattis but neither is imminent.
The Astros sent their equipment trucks to Florida in anticipation of the beginning of spring camp. Pitchers and catchers are due to report on Valentine's Day while the first exhibition game on the schedule is slated for February 23rd. The first game of the regular season for the Astros will be on March 28th against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.
- Bob Hulsey