The Astros have avoided arbitration with utility infielder Marwin Gonzalez, agreeing to a $3.725MM salary for the upcoming season, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). Gonzalez will also have a $5.125MM team option tacked onto his contract. If the club declines that option, he’ll still be controllable via arbitration next winter. Gonzalez had reportedly been set for a hearing on Feb. 14, but the two sides will now avoid that fate.
As can be seen in MLBTR’s 2017 Arbitration Tracker, the Astros had filed for a $3.25MM salary against Gonzalez’s submission of $4.2MM. The $3.725MM sum at which the two sides settled represents the exact midpoint between those filings, and the 2018 option gives the two sides an easy means of circumventing this process again in Gonzalez’s final offseason of arbitration eligibility — assuming he performs at a reasonable level in 2017.
Gonzalez, 28 in March, was a Rule 5 pick back in 2011 and has become a fixture on the Houston roster over the past three seasons as his bat has taken a step forward. After hitting just .227/.266/.323 in his first two seasons as an Astro, Gonzalez has posted roughly league-average production at the plate across the past three seasons, hitting .268/.309/.413 in just under 1200 plate appearances.
Gonzalez has nearly 1700 innings of shortstop under his belt at the Major League level, though the emergence of Carlos Correa has limited his time at that position in recent years. In 2016, he spent the bulk of his time in the field (677 innings) at first base but also saw time at third base, both middle infield positions, both outfield corners and one lone inning in center field.
With Gonzalez’s salary now set, the Astros have resolved seven of their eight arbitration cases. Right-hander Collin McHugh, who filed for a $3.85MM salary against the team’s submission of $3.35MM, is set for a hearing on Feb. 10, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle recently reported.