WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and the Houston Astros finalized an $85 million, five-year contract covering 2022-26 on Friday.
McCullers agreed on Jan. 15 to a $6.5 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration. He would have been eligible for free agency after this year’s World Series.
His new agreement calls for a $3.5 million signing bonus, payable within 30 days of the contract’s approval by the commissioner’s office, and salaries of $15.25 million in both 2022 and 2023, and $17 million annually from 2024-26.
The 27-year-old returned in 2020 after missing a season following Tommy John surgery. He was 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 11 starts last season, earning $1,518,519 prorated from a $4.1 million salary.
McCullers is expected to be one of the leaders of Houston’s rotation in 2021 with ace Justin Verlander out all year after having Tommy John surgery. The Astros also are without Framber Valdéz, who broke his left ring finger in his first spring training appearance.
McCullers is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA over seven innings in three spring training games.
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