01/24/10 8:52 PM EST
Byrdak, Astros agree on one-year deal
Wandy remains last arbitration-eligible player on club
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
"We got him done tonight," said Astros assistant general manager Ricky Bennett, who was handling the negotiations. "We were working hard to get it done, and I feel much better."
Byrdak, 36, appeared in a club-high 76 games last season for the Astros and was the only member of the Opening Day bullpen to spend the entire season on Houston's active roster. He was 1-2 with a 3.23 ERA and pitched in 65 percent of the Astros' games from Aug. 1 until the end of the season.
"He really did a nice job for us last year," Bennett said. "He pitched in a number of different roles. Obviously, we brought him in at times to face lefties. He was versatile and able to pitch up and down the lineup. He was a valuable guy in the bullpen."
Byrdak joined the Astros in 2008 and appeared in 59 games. Last season was the only year of his career he didn't appear in a Minor League game. The $1.6 million he will receive this year is a $600,000 raise over his $1 million salary from a year ago.
Byrdak is 7-8 with a 4.50 ERA in 279 career Major League games.
"He wants to focus on the season and not on other things," said Mike Mosa, Byrdak's agent. "This is something that has to be done, and once you get it out of the way, the biggest thing is he wants to win ballgames."
The Astros' lone remaining arbitration-eligible player is starter Wandy Rodriguez, who led the club in wins (14), starts (33), innings pitched (205 2/3) and strikeouts (193). He is asking for $7 million, and the club is offering $5 million.
Astros general manager Ed Wade has set a deadline of end of business Monday to get a deal done with Rodriguez or both sides will proceed to an arbitration hearing, which would be early next month.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.