Astros agree to terms with five players

HOUSTON (KBTX) -- HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with catcher Evan Gattis, left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel, outfielder Jake Marisnick, right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. All five players were arbitration-eligible. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Gattis, 31, hit .263 (79x300) with 22 doubles, 12 homers, 55 RBI and a .767 OPS (.311 OBP/.457 SLG) while posting a career-low 15.4% strikeout rate in 84 games with the Astros in 2017. The right-handed hitter made 47 starts at catcher and hit .288 with 11 of his 12 home runs in his 49 games behind the dish. Acquired by the Astros from the Braves prior to the 2015 season, Gattis has hit 71 home runs during his three seasons with Houston.

Keuchel, 30, was named an All-Star for the second time in his career in 2017, going 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA (47ER/145.2IP) and 125 strikeouts in 23 starts during the regular season. Keuchel started five games in the postseason, posting a 2-2 record with a 3.58 ERA (11ER/27.2IP) and 32 strikeouts. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner and three-time Gold Glove Award winner has pitched in parts of six seasons with the Astros since getting selected by the club in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.

Marisnick, 26, appeared in 106 games for the Astros in 2017, including 66 starts in center field (63) and left field (3). On the year, Marisnick hit .243 (56x230) with a career-high 16 home runs, while driving in 35 RBI. He also set career highs in runs (50), walks (20), on-base percentage (.319), slugging (.496) and OPS (.815). Marisnick played his final game of the year on Sept. 13, as he was sidelined with a fractured right thumb throughout the postseason. Originally acquired in a trade with Miami in 2014, Marisnick has played for the Astros in each of the last four seasons (2014-17).

McCullers Jr., 24, was named an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2017. In his 22 regular season starts, McCullers posted a 7-4 record with a 4.25 ERA (56ER/118.2IP) and 132 strikeouts. In the postseason, McCullers pitched a 4.0-inning save in Game 7 of the ALCS vs. the Yankees, and was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the World Series vs. the Dodgers. Selected by the Astros with the 41st overall pick in the first round of the 2012 draft, McCullers has gone 19-16 with a 3.60 ERA (130ER/325.1IP) and 367 strikeouts in three seasons with the Astros.

Peacock, 29, led the Majors in winning percentage in 2017, as he went 13-2 (.867) with a 3.00 ERA (44ER/132IP) and 161 strikeouts in 34 games (21 starts). Dynamic as both a reliever and a starter, Peacock ranked fourth in the AL in strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio among pitchers with at least 130.0 innings (10.98), trailing only Chris Sale (12.93), Corey Kluber (11.71) and Chris Archer (11.15). In the World Series, Peacock tossed 3.2 scoreless innings of relief to get the save in Game 3 at Minute Maid Park, and also pitched 2.0 shutout innings in the World Series-clinching Game 7 at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander was acquired from Oakland as part of a five-player deal in 2013.

This marked the first trip through the arbitration process for McCullers Jr. and Peacock, the second trip through the arbitration process for Marisnick, and the third trip through arbitration for Gattis and Keuchel.

The deadline for clubs and arbitration-eligible players to exchange filing numbers was earlier today. Right-handed pitcher Ken Giles, right-handed pitcher Collin McHugh and outfielder George Springer are the remaining unsigned, arbitration-eligible players on the Astros roster.