ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)The Houston Astros beat Kyle Tucker in arbitration on Thursday, and the All-Star outfielder will make $5 million rather than his $7.5 million request.
Outfielder Harold Ramirez became the third player to go to arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays, arguing for a $2.2 million salary during Thursday’s hearing rather than the team’s $1.9 million offer.
Toronto infielder Bo Bichette avoided a hearing when he finalized a $33.6 million, three-year contract.
The $2.5 million gap between Tucker and the Astros matched Bichette’s with the Blue Jays for the largest among 33 players who exchanged proposed salaries with their teams last month. Tucker’s case was heard Wednesday by John Stout, Fredric Horowitz and Jules Bloch, who held their decision until after Bichette’s agreement was finalized.
Tucker, 26, hit .257 with 30 homers, a career-best 107 RBIs and stole 25 bases and won a Glove Glove last year after batting .294 with 30 homers and 92 RBIs in 2021. He had a $764,200 salary last year and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Teams have won three of five decisions, All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat Miami.
Ramirez hit a career-best .300 last season with six homers and 58 RBIs. He had a $728,000 salary and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. His case was heard Thursday by John Woods, Melinda Gordon and Bloch.
Tampa Bay had earlier hearings with relievers Ryan Thompson ($1.2 million vs. $1 million) and Colin Poche ($1.3 million vs. $1,175,000). Those decisions are being held for later cases to be argued or settled.
A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.
Rays right-hander Jason Adam and Astros right-hander Cristian Javier are among 14 players who remain scheduled for hearings, which run through Feb. 17.
Bichette, a son of former All-Star Dante Bichette, hit .290 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs, down slightly from a .298 average, 29 homers and 102 RBIs in 2021. He had asked for a raise from $723,500 to $7.5 million and had been offered $5 million.
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