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Contracts tendered to eight Astros

Contracts tendered to eight Astros

HOUSTON -- As expected, the Astros tendered contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players late Saturday, including newcomer Matt Lindstrom, who was acquired in a trade from the Florida Marlins during the Winter Meetings.

The other players tendered contracts were outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, left-handers Wandy Rodriguez and Tim Byrdak, right-hander Chris Sampson, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Humberto Quintero.

"[President of baseball operations] Tal [Smith], [assistant general managers] David Gottfried and Ricky Bennett will be gainfully employed the next couple of months trying to wind their way through arbitration or case preparation, and those are going to be real-dollar numbers," general manager Ed Wade said. "We think we've allocated the right numbers from a budget standpoint, but one quirky thing could impact us as well."

Players who were tendered contracts are considered signed players for 2010 with the salary to be determined. If they're still unsigned on Jan. 19, both sides will submit a proposal for a one-year deal and arbitration hearings will take place Feb. 1-21.

If the players are still unsigned by the hearing date, his agent and the team will make a case to a three-member panel, which will side with either the figure submitted by the team or the player.

The three players who will command large raises are Bourn, Pence and Rodriguez, each of whom played a significant role on the team in 2009. Bourn was named the team's Most Valuable Player, Pence made the National League All-Star team and Rodriguez was the club's top starting pitcher.

Rodriguez is eligible for arbitration for the second time after making $2.6 million last season. Pence, who made $439,000 in 2009, and Bourn, who made $434,500 last season, are both first-time arbitration-eligible players.

Bourn hit .285 with an NL-leading 61 stolen bases and set career highs in nearly every offensive category, including games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBIs and walks.

Pence hit .282 and set career highs in hits, stolen bases, walks and games and tied his career high in homers. He led all Major League outfielders in assists and made the NL All-Star team as a reserve.

Rodriguez set career highs in multiple categories, including wins, games started, innings pitched and strikeouts. He posted a 3.02 ERA and went 14-12 with 23 quality starts.

Byrdak ($1 million in 2009) and Sampson ($449,000) were key parts of the bullpen last season, and Keppinger ($427,500) and Quintero ($610,000) were key backups.

Lindstrom made $410,000 last season and was 2-1 with a 5.89 ERA and 15 saves for the Florida Marlins, who acquired three Minor League players from the Astros in exchange for the 29-year-old reliever.

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

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