HOUSTON -- On Tuesday, the Astros tendered contracts for 2022 to each of their six arbitration-eligible players: infielder/outfielder Aledmys Díaz, right-handers Rafael Montero, Phil Maton, Ryne Stanek and Josh James and left-hander Framber Valdez.
By tendering contracts to those players, the Astros have them signed for the 2022 season with a salary to be determined. The two sides can negotiate a contract until February, when a panel of arbitrators would choose the player’s salary from both sides' submitted amount.
Díaz and Montero are arbitration-eligible for the third time and will be free agents after the ’22 season. Maton and Stanek are second-year arb eligible, while Valdez and James are both arb eligible for the first time.
Here’s more on each of the six players and their roles going forward.
Díaz: After playing all over the infield -- as well as some time in left field -- in the past two seasons, Díaz could wind up playing more shortstop next year if Carlos Correa leaves in free agency. Díaz's best role probably remains as a versatile utility player off the bench who can fill in in the infield and left field.
Valdez: The southpaw has emerged as a viable middle-of-the-rotation arm for the Astros. He went 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA and threw 134 2/3 innings in 2021, after missing the first two months of the season with a broken ring finger, and he'll be looking to put together a full season in ’22. He had a 7.78 ERA in five postseason starts, but he tossed eight innings of one-run ball in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series in Boston.
Stanek: He was the Astros’ primary eighth-inning setup man this past season before they acquired Kendall Graveman, pushing Stanek into a seventh-inning role. He appeared in 72 games and posted a 3.42 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings, including a 1.15 ERA over his final 16 games. He had a 2.45 ERA and 0.64 WHIP in 13 postseason games.
Maton: A midseason acquisition, Maton posted a 4.97 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP after coming over in a July trade with Cleveland. But he was strong in the postseason (one earned run in 12 1/3 innings) and should serve in a key bullpen role in ’22.
Montero: After getting traded from Seattle to Houston in July, Montero appeared in only four games for the Astros before a shoulder injury ended his season. He allowed only one unearned run over six innings for Houston.
James: The Astros’ 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, James missed the start of the '21 season after undergoing surgery to repair a labral tear in his left hip. He appeared in only five games for Houston, allowing three runs and striking out eight batters with two walks in five innings.
Additionally, the Astros outrighted right-hander Andre Scrubb to Triple-A Sugar Land. He will remain with the organization after clearing waivers. Scrubb made 18 Major League appearances in 2021, going 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA.
With the removal of Scrubb, Houston's 40-man roster is at 39 players.