The Astros and center fielder George Springer have agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $21MM, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. The Excel Sports client had filed for a $22.5MM salary against the Astros’ offer of $17.5MM (as shown in MLBTR’s 2020 Arbitration Tracker), so his deal will check in north of the $20MM midpoint between those two figures.
These days, it’s atypical to see a team and a player settle on a one-year arrangement after figures have been exchanged. Most clubs prefer the so-called “file and trial” approach — essentially halting negotiations on anything other than a multi-year deal once figures have been swapped. That near-universal adoption of that line of thinking has led to an increase in the number of arbitration hearings in recent years, but it seems the organization was willing to discuss one-year parameters with one of its best players.
Of course, this week’s events with the Astros factor into the storyline here. Owner Jim Crane fired president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow after commissioner Rob Manfred revealed the results of an investigation into the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and the club is currently operating without a president of baseball operations or general manager. Crane himself even said that he’ll personally be overseeing baseball operations for the time being, so it seems the willingness to compromise in this instance stemmed directly from ownership.
Springer, 30, will head into his final season of club control after posting a .292/.383/.581 slash with a career-high 39 home runs in 2019. Barring an extension, he’ll enter free agency next winter having recently turned 31 and figures to be ranked among the market’s best available free agents.
With Springer’s case now settled, Aledmys Diaz is the Astros’ only unresolved player. He filed for a $2.6MM salary against the team’s $2MM submission.