KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros owner Drayton McLane said on Sunday that he was surprised the team lost its arbitration case against right fielder Hunter Pence. The hearing was heard on Friday in Phoenix, with a three-person panel ruling on Saturday that Pence would be paid $6.9 million this year. The Astros offered $5.15 million.
"From all the evidence we have gotten, the work [general manager] Ed [Wade] and his staff and [president of baseball operations] Tal Smith did and Major League Baseball and their player relations and how they worked on it, we thought we had a really, really great case and should have won," McLane said. "That was the decision and we said to Hunter we need to move forward."
Pence, 27, was named the Astros' Most Valuable Player last year by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America after hitting .282 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. The loss was the first in arbitration for the Astros since 1996.
McLane walked up to Pence on the field Sunday, shook his hand and told him congratulations.
"His attitude is superb," McLane said. "When he was drafted, they said he's going to be a young man who could be really, really good. He's proven to be so far in his attitude."