Utilityman Mauricio Dubón has won an arbitration hearing against the Astros, reports Ari Alexander of KPRC-2 in Houston. The Astros will pay the $3.5MM salary figure submitted by Dubón and his representatives at ALIGND Sports, as opposed to the $3MM sum the team had filed.
Dubón is coming off the best season of his career. He played in a personal-high 132 games and tallied almost 500 plate appearances. Dubón turned in league average results offensively, hitting .278/.309/.411 while getting into the double digits in home runs for the first time. As he has throughout his career, he consistently put the ball in play while playing essneitlaly anywhere on the diamond. Dubón struck out in fewer than 15% of his plate appearances and started multiple games at each of first base, second base, shortstop, left field and center field.
The right-handed hitter filled in effectively at the keystone early in the year when Jose Altuve was on the injured list. He moved back to his traditional utility role as the season progressed. Dubón doesn’t project as a starter at any individual position in a strong Houston lineup, but his defensive flexibility means he’ll log semi-regular playing time around the diamond.
This was his second of four trips through the arbitration process. Dubón qualified for early arbitration last winter as a Super Two player, agreeing to a $1.4MM salary for 2023. He earns a raise of more than $2MM this time and will go through the process twice more. Dubón won’t be eligible for free agency until the 2026-27 offseason, at which point he’ll be entering his age-32 campaign.
Dubón was Houston’s only arbitration-eligible player who didn’t agree to terms this offseason. Finalizing his salary pushes their 2024 payroll commitments to roughly $240MM, as calculated by Roster Resource. They’re up to nearly $255MM in competitive balance tax obligations, just $2MM below the second penalization tier. It’s easily the highest payroll projection in franchise history as Houston pushes for another AL West triumph. With each of Dubón, Taylor Ward and Austin Hays being announced as the winners of their hearings this morning, players have been victorious in three of the first five arbitration cases.