Astros – The Off-Season Strategy Session - Part 2

Larry The GM on Nov. 8, 2018

Contract decisions - who are the free agents leaving, option opt-ins/ outs, arbitration, and qualifying offers

In some ways, this article could come before the 2019 roster projection one. In either case, at the end of the 2018 season, the Astros front office will have free agents leaving with qualifying offers to offer, contract options to decide, and arbitration decisions to make.

The following players (with 2018 salaries) are now Free Agents, and some will receive a qualifying offer ($17.9MM for one year) to stay for one more year:

- Dallas Keuchel ($13.2MM)

- Charlie Morton ($7MM)

- Marwin Gonzalez ($5.12MM)

- Evan Gattis ($6.7MM)- not offered

- Tony Sipp ($6MM)- not offered

- Martin Maldonado ($3.9MM)- not offered. Potential to resign as a Free Agent

The total 2018 salary of these players was $41.92MM. This will come off the books.

Per MLB.com regarding qualifying offers

If the team that loses the player did not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the luxury-tax salary threshold the previous season, its compensatory pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B (usually about the 75-80 picks). The value of the player's contract doesn't matter in this case. The 12 clubs that fall into this category are the Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Phillies, Rangers, White Sox, and Yankees.

This would mean the Astros are likely to add one additional draft pick in the 75-80 pick range.

The Astros front office also has to decide whether to exercise options on the following contacts (these are complete):

- Brian McCann ($11.5MM net)- $15MM vesting option did not vest and the team did not pick up the option. He is now also a Free Agent. There was no way the Astros would retain McCann at the $15MM contract price. Many believe McCann may want to return to the Atlanta Braves where he began.

- Will Harris ($2.8MM)- $5.5MM team option not exercised but still eligible to be offered arbitration and retained.

McCann’s $11.5MM of 2018 salaries will come off the books. We will hold Harris’s contract for the arbitration section.

The following players are eligible for Arbitration and their projected arbitration amounts per rosterresource.com (2018 salary)

- Gerrit Cole- $13.1MM ($6.75MM)- offered and potential to negotiate a long-term contract

- Roberto Osuna- $6.5MM ($5.3MM)- offered and potential to negotiate a long-term contract

- Colin McHugh- $5.4MM ($5.0MM)- offered

- Carlos Correa- $5.1MM ($1.0MM)- offered and potential to negotiate a long-term contract

- Lance McCullers- $4.6MM ($2.45MM)- offered

- Will Harris- $3.6MM ($2.8MM)- might not be offered due to roster space

- Ryan Pressly- $3.1MM ($1.6MM)- offered and potential to negotiate a long-term contract

- Brad Peacock- $2.9MM ($2.44MM)- offered

- Jake Marisnick- $2.4MM ($1.9MM)- probably offered

- Chris Devenski- $1.4MM ($0.6MM)- probably offered

Essentially, I am assuming all of these players, except Harris, will be offered arbitration. The total 2018 salary here was $29.84MM. The projected 2019 salaries are $44.5MM.

Therefore, after all of these moves the

- Astros net losses are Keuchel, Gonzalez, Morton, Gattis, Sipp, Maldonado, Harris, and McCann

- The total salary off the books is $83.26MM

- The total arbitration expenses for 2019 is $44.5MM

Next, we will start the process of managing the 40-man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft.

Read Part 1 here.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference, Sportrac, and Fangraphs***

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