Astros, Gattis agree on deal, avoid arbitration

GM relieved as all arb-eligible players now in fold

Astros, Gattis agree on deal, avoid arbitration

HOUSTON -- The Astros reached a one-year deal with an option for 2017 with designated hitter Evan Gattis on Tuesday to avoid arbitration. All of the Astros' arbitration-eligible players are now under contract for this season with Spring Training scheduled to begin Friday.

The club announced the signing of Gattis, and a source told the slugger will make $3.3 million in 2016 with a 2017 team option for $5.2 million, or a $100,000 buyout. The 2016 salary is just below the midpoint of the numbers the two sides filed in arbitration.

• Astros Spring Training info

The 29-year-old Gattis hit .246 last year in his first season in Houston and led the club in triples (11), home runs (27) and RBIs (88). He lost nearly 20 pounds in the offseason because he said he wanted to try to be able to play more defense, including doing some catching.

Gattis, in his first year of arbitration, had hernia surgery last week that was expected to sideline him four to six weeks.

The Astros had only one case go to a hearing this year. Catcher Jason Castro earlier this month lost his case against the club and had to settle for $5 million instead of the $5.25 million he was seeking. Gattis had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Gattis undergoes hernia surgery

"It's a relief," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "Even though we know those players are going to be on our team, it's a relief to get the contract part of that done so we can focus on getting everybody healthy and playing and contributing to what we're trying to do this year on the field. It's part of the process. It takes a long time and a lot of effort goes into it, but our guys did a nice job and we're happy to have the process behind us."

With Gattis in the fold, the Astros' payroll will be close to $100 million this year. Outfielder Colby Rasmus ($15.8 million after accepting a qualifying offer) will be the highest-paid Astros player this year, with outfielder Carlos Gomez ($9 million), pitchers Scott Feldman ($8 million), Dallas Keuchel ($7.25 million), Doug Fister ($7 million), Pat Neshek ($6.5 million), Luke Gregerson ($6.25 million) and Tony Sipp ($6 million), infielder Luis Valbuena ($6.12 million) and Castro each making at least $5 million.

Of those, Rasmus, Gomez, Feldman, Fister, Valbuena and Castro will be free agents following this season. Neshek and Gattis have team options for 2017.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.