Six players tendered contracts; Scrubb outrighted to Triple A
The Houston Astros have tendered contracts to all six of their arbitration-eligible players: IF Aledmys Díaz, RHP Josh James, RHP Phil Maton, RHP Rafael Montero, RHP Ryne Stanek and LHP Framber Valdez. Additionally, the club outrighted RHP Andre Scrubb to Triple A Sugar Land. The announcements were made by Astros General Manager James Click.
The deadline for Major League clubs to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players was tonight at 7 p.m. CT.
Díaz, 31, is eligible for arbitration for the third and final time in his career. The versatile infielder batted .259 (76×294) with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 45 RBI in 84 games for the Astros in 2021. He made 70 starts on the season at seven different positions, including all four infield spots, the two corner outfield positions and at designated hitter. A career .271 (453×1674) hitter in the Majors, Díaz will begin his seventh MLB season in 2022, and his fourth with Houston after the club acquired him from Toronto in exchange for RHP Trent Thornton on Nov. 17, 2018.
James, 28, is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. The hard-throwing reliever made five appearances for Houston in 2021, posting a 5.40 ERA (3ER/5IP). He missed most of the season while recovering from offseason hip surgery and ended up making three Major League stints in the final two months of the regular season. While healthy, he pitched most of his season at Triple A, posting a 3.38 ERA (7ER/18.2IP) in 20 relief appearances. James was originally a 34th-round pick by the Astros in the June 2014 draft.
Maton, 28, finished the season with a 4.73 ERA (35ER/66.2IP) with a career-high 85 strikeouts in 65 appearances combined between Cleveland (38g) and Houston (27g) in 2021. He starred in the postseason, appearing in 12 games, while posting a 0.73 ERA (1ER/12.1IP) with 14 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP. Maton was acquired by the Astros on July 30 along with minor leaguer C Yainer Diaz in exchange for OF Myles Straw. The 2022 season will be his sixth at the Major League level.
Montero, 31, was also acquired near the trade deadline, with his deal being announced on July 27. He joined the Astros from Seattle along with RHP Kendall Graveman in exchange for RHP Joe Smith and IF Abraham Toro. Montero combined to make 44 appearances between the two clubs, while posting a 6.39 ERA (35ER/49.1IP). He pitched well for the Astros, making four scoreless appearances (6IP) after his acquisition. His season ended on Aug. 10 after being diagnosed with a right lat strain.
Stanek, 30, led the Astros and ranked tied for fourth in the AL with 72 appearances, while posting a 3-5 record with two saves and a 3.42 ERA (26ER/68.1IP). He also led the club and set a franchise record by making 13 relief appearances in the postseason, posting a 2.45 ERA (3ER/11IP) in those contests. On the season, Stanek allowed just a .186 (46×247) average with 83 strikeouts in 68.1 innings pitched. The 2022 season will be his second in Houston after being signed by the club as a free agent prior to the 2021 campaign.
Valdez, 28, is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. The left-handed starter went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA (47ER/134.2IP) in 22 regular season starts in 2021. He missed the first 49 games of the season due to a fractured finger before returning on May 28. From that date through the end of the season, Valdez ranked tied for first in the AL in wins (11), while ranking third in innings pitched (134.2) and fourth in ERA (3.14). The 2022 season will be his fifth at the Major League level.
Scrubb, 26, will remain with the Astros organization after clearing waivers. He made 18 Major League appearances in 2021, posting a 1-1 record and a 5.03 ERA (11ER/19.2IP). He had two separate stints on the IL in 2021, while battling right shoulder injuries. When healthy, Scrubb made another 16 minor league appearances, including 15 at Triple A, where he posted a 1.80 ERA (3ER/15IP).
With the removal of Scrubb, the Astros 40-man roster is at 39 players.