Astros reach agreements with three

Astros reach agreements with three

HOUSTON -- The Astros signed their three remaining arbitration-eligible players on Thursday, all to one-year contracts. Adam Everett signed for $2.8 million, Jason Lane signed for $1.05 million and Morgan Ensberg agreed to a $4.35 million contract. Everett and Lane's contracts include incentives packages.

The Astros have signed all nine of their arbitration-eligible players, weeks before the hearings were scheduled to begin. The club hasn't had a case go to a hearing since 1997.

"We've already endeavored to come to reasonable agreements with our players, and this is another good example of doing that," Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. "It takes two sides to come to an agreement. It's a credit to the players and their agents, too."

Everett, 29, hit .239 with six home runs and a career-high 59 RBIs over 150 games in 2006. He posted career-high totals with 28 doubles, six triples and 34 walks. His .990 fielding percentage ranked fourth all-time for a National League shortstop in a single season.

Lane hit .201 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs last year. His struggles in the first half resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Round Rock just after the All-Star break, and in 12 games for the Express, he hit .261 with one homer and 11 RBIs.

Lane, 30, will compete with Luke Scott and Richard Hidalgo for the starting job in right field, but it's more likely that if he makes the team, it will be as a backup. Lane will also get a look in center field, although Chris Burke is expected to be the Opening Day starter at that position.

The 31-year-old Ensberg had a down year in '06 after posting All-Star numbers the year before. Last season, he hit .235 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs over 127 games. The third baseman is slated to retain his starting job, but Mike Lamb and Mark Loretta will be available as alternatives.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.