The Astros took care of most of their arbitration eligible pitchers today, but couldn’t agree to a contract with either of their two most recognizable players: Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez, before arbitration figures had to be exchanged.
According to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, there’s quite a big difference between what each side is asking for. Under the terms of arbitration, both the team and the player must submit what they feel is a fair contract to the arbitrator in advance of the meeting. Rodriguez, who is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, is asking for $10.25 million while the Astros have offered $8 million. Pence, who was a Super 2 last season, has three more seasons of arbitration eligibility, and has asked for $6.9 million. The Astros offered $5.15 million to Pence.
Contrary to the whispers around the organization that the team is still looking to cut payroll, Astros GM Ed Wade said the team still has interest in signing Rodriguez to a long-term deal:
“We certainly remain open about the possibility of getting a multiyear deal done with Wandy,” Wade said. “In our way of thinking, multiyear contracts should really be buying out some substantial amount of free agency in the process, and in order to do that on a player with Hunter’s service at this point in time, we’d be talking about a contract much longer than we’re comfortable with.”
The Astros will have until January 25th to come to a deal with either player. They rarely have gone to arbitration with their players in the past, although they did go to it with Rodriguez last season.