Teams make deals with top pitchers, avoid arbitration


WASHINGTON: American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel of Houston and Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg avoided contract arbitration on Saturday by agreeing to one-year deals with their Major League Baseball clubs.

Keuchel agreed to a one-year deal worth $7.25 million with the Astros, the richest deal ever for a first-time arbitration-eligible starting pitcher, shattering the prior high of $4.35 million shared by David Price and Dontrelle Willis.

Keuchel, 27, went 20-8 with a 2.48 earned-run average and 216 strikeouts last season in helping Houston reach the playoffs, receiving $524,500.

The Astros also made deals to avoid arbitration with third baseman Luis Valbuena ($6.125 million), shortstop Marwin Gonzalez ($2 million) and right-hander Josh Fields ($900,000).

Strasburg agreed to a one-year contract for $10.4 million and will be eligible for free agency after the 2016 campaign. It will be a jump of more than $3 million from last season, when Strasburg went 11-7 with a 3.46 earned-run average. Washington also agreed to a one-year, $2.8 million deal with third baseman Anthony Rendon.

The Miami Marlins avoided arbitration with right-handed star pitcher Jose Fernandez, 23, by agreeing to a one-year deal for $2.8 million. Fernandez made $651,000 last season when he returned from tendon replacement surgery and went 6-1 with a 2.92 earned-run average over 11 starts.

New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey avoided arbitration with the reigning National League champions by agreeing to a one-year, $4.325 million deal. It’s a huge raise for Harvey, who made $614,000 last season while going 13-8 with a 2.71 earned-run average after his return from elbow tendon replacement surgery. He won’t be eligible for free agency until 2018.

The Mets also reached one-year deals with right-hander Addison Reed ($5.3 million), shortstop Ruben Tejada ($3 million), right-hander Carlos Torres ($1.05 million) and left-handed pitcher Josh Edgin ($625,000). They face arbitration hearings with closing reliever Jeurys Familia and first baseman Lucas Duda.



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