HOUSTON, TX - The Astros have agreed to terms on a one-year Major League contract with free agent outfielder Jack Cust, General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today.
The deal is worth $600,000 and includes a club option for the 2013 season. The Astros will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Cust.
The 33-year-old Cust, who was with the Seattle Mariners in 2011 before being released in August, has been a productive offensive player in his Major League career with 105 home runs, 323 RBI, 444 walks and a .374 on-base percentage in 670 big league games.
The majority of his Major League career has been with Oakland, where he played for four seasons (2007-10). While in Oakland, Cust averaged 28 home runs and 103 walks per season for a three-year span from 2007-09. In 124 games in 2007, he hit .256 with 25 home runs, 82 RBI and 105 walks while posting career highs in on-base percentage (.408), slugging (.504) and OPS (.912). In 2008, he reached career highs in home runs (33) and walks (111).
Cust’s 309 walks from 2007-09 were tops in the American League and ranked third in the Majors behind Adam Dunn (339) and Albert Pujols (318). He also led the AL in pitches per plate appearance (4.34) in that span while ranking fifth in game-winning RBI with 39. Cust has a .398 on-base pct. in his career when leading off an inning.
In his Major League career, Cust has appeared in 231 games in the outfield, with 219 starts. The rest of his starts have been as a designated hitter. In addition to Seattle and Oakland, Cust, a former first-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1997, has played in the Majors for the D-backs, Rockies, Orioles and Padres.