The Astros are currently without a general manager, but they managed to cross off an item on their roster-building to-do list on Thursday. Houston reached an agreement with center fielder George Springer to avoid arbitration, the team announced Thursday. The deal is a $21 million contract for the 2020 season, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The Astros offered Springer a $17.5 million salary ahead of last week's arbitration filing deadline and Springer asked for $22.5 million when the sides exchanged figures, per Feinsand.
Of course a lot has changed in Houston since last Friday. Monday, the Astros were hammered with penalties from Major League Baseball for their use of an electronic sign-stealing scheme during their World Series championship season in 2017 and in part of the 2018 season. Manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were both fired by the Astros after getting one-year suspensions from MLB. The league also fined the franchise $5 million and took away draft picks.
Owner Jim Crane is currently overseeing Houston's front office as the team searches for a new general manager (here are five potential candidates). The Astros are also searching for a manager and have been linked to dugout veterans like Buck Showalter and John Gibbons.
Springer, 30, is coming off his best offensive season. He hit .292 with a .974 OPS (150 OPS+) and 39 homers as the Astros leadoff hitter in 2019. Springer was selected to his third consecutive All-Star Game and finished seventh in AL MVP voting.
Springer was one of a handful of big names who did not reach an agreement on 2020 salary before last week's deadline. J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies, Josh Hader of the Brewers, Joc Pederson of the Dodgers and Trevor Story of the Rockies are among the players still negotiating figures.