Fri Jan 15 7:18pm ET
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Astros agreed to one-year contracts with right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. and infielder Aledmys Diaz on Friday to avoid salary arbitration.
Houston also finalized a $12.5 million, two-year deal with reliever Pedro Baez that includes a club option and could be worth $19.5 million for three seasons. Last season he was 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA and two saves in 18 appearances for the Dodgers.
McCullers will make $6.5 million next season after a solid year in 2020 in his return after missing a season after Tommy John surgery. McCullers was 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 11 starts last season, earning $1,518,519 prorated from a $4.1 million salary. He'll be one of the leaders of Houston's rotation in 2021 with ace Justin Verlander out all year after having Tommy John surgery.
The 30-year-old Diaz will make $3 million next season. He played just 17 games in an injury-plagued 2020 season. He hit .241 with three homers and six RBIs in his second season in Houston and earned $962,963 prorated from a $2.6 million salary.
Shortstop Carlos Correa is Houston's only only arbitration-eligible player who remains unsigned.
In seven seasons with the Dodgers, Baez the right-hander is 21-15 with a 3.03 ERA in 355 appearances. He has 369 strikeouts in 356 career innings and has limited opponents to a .206 average.
He's been particularly against left-handers in his career and has limited them to a .181 average. His best season came in 2019 when he went 7-2 and led the team with 71 appearances and set career-bests in wins, opponents average (.174) and WHIP (0.95).
He gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million this year and $5.5 million in 2022. Houston has a $7.5 million option with a $2 million buyout.
Baez's 2022 salary can escalate by $1 million based on innings this year: $250,000 each for 30, 40, 50 and 60. His option would escalate to $8 million if he has 100 innings in 2021 and 2022 combined.