The Astros are next in our arbitration eligibles series...
- First time: Gustavo Chacin, Nelson Figueroa, Felipe Paulino
- Second time: Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Keppinger
- Third time: Wandy Rodriguez, Tim Byrdak, Humberto Quintero
Pence, Rodriguez, and Bourn are the biggest names from the Astros' sizeable arbitration class. Pence has a good case for a $3MM raise, which would put him at $6.5MM for 2011. The Astros will continue to enjoy the savings from beating Rodriguez in arbitration last year, but they'll still owe him $7MM or more next year. We learned in August that Wandy seeks an extension, and we suggested at the time that three years and $24MM could work. Bourn could get a couple million more on the strength of his run and steal totals; he figures to stay.
Lindstrom had a rough finish, losing the closing job to Brandon Lyon as he dealt with a back injury. His raise could be limited to about $1MM. Paulino remains interesting enough to tender a contract, and Keppinger should also be retained.
Figueroa, 37 in May, has not yet gone through the arbitration process. Perhaps his 67 Astros innings this year were strong enough to merit a tender, or maybe the plan is to non-tender and then re-sign him. At any rate, interest is mutual between Figueroa and GM Ed Wade. Byrdak is a tough call. He battled hamstring and back injuries this year and already makes $1.6MM, but did handle lefties well.
Chacin tossed 38.3 innings for the Astros, his first big league work since '07. He'll probably be non-tendered. The non-tender decision on Quintero will depend on the Astros' perception of his defense and intangibles, since he's not much with the bat. He made only $750K this year and would receive a small raise.