The Astros have avoided arbitration with right-hander Mike Fiers by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $3.45MM, reports Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Fiers had filed for a $3.9MM salary, while the team countered at $3MM, as can be seen in MLBTR’s 2017 Arbitration Tracker. His ultimate $3.45MM contract will land directly on the midpoint between those two proposed sums.
As things currently stand in Houston, Fiers figures to head into camp as a member of the team’s rotation, alongside Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh and offseason signee Charlie Morton. Young Joe Musgrove, who was sharp in his 2016 MLB debut, could be in the mix for rotation innings as well. Fiers does have some bullpen experience, though, so it’s at least possible that the team could explore a swingman role for him if Musgrove looks sharp in camp and the other four starters all appear healthy. It’s also worth noting that the Astros have been consistently linked to trade rumors for top-tier starting pitchers, and a deal would obviously make a significant impact on the construction of their rotation.
The 31-year-old Fiers made 30 starts and 31 total appearances for the Astros last season, pitching to a 4.48 earned run average with 7.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a career-best 42.2 percent ground-ball rate in 168 2/3 innings. Since coming to Houston in the 2015 trade that also netted the Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez, Fiers has turned in 231 innings of 4.17 ERA ball.