Bregman, 24, is poised to make $640,500 in 2019, representing a raise of $41,500 after finishing fifth in AL MVP voting.
"I'm just disappointed and I feel like I outperformed that last year," Bregman said, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "I understand that it's a business, but I feel like good business would be wanting to make a player who performed at a high level on your team happy and want to feel like he wanted to be kept and feel like they wanted him to play here forever. I'm just disappointed it doesn't seem like the same amount of want."
His performance was exemplary. A first-time All-Star, Bregman slashed .286/.394/.532 with 31 home runs and a major-league-best 51 doubles. He followed that up by posting a ridiculous .553 OBP in eight postseason games.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Bregman received the second largest pre-arbitration salary given to an Astros player after Carlos Correa received $1 million last year on the back of his 2015 AL Rookie of the Year honors. Luhnow explained he understood Bregman's annoyance, but that it was simply part of the process.
"I know it's not satisfying because he's a great player and no player is ever satisfied the year before they reach arbitration with the amount the club gives them. That's just the nature of our industry right now. That's the world we operate in, and next year when he reaches arbitration, he's going to begin to get paid at the level he deserves," Luhnow said.
Bregman is not alone in his exasperation. Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell criticized his team for giving him a $15,500 raise after winning the 2018 AL Cy Young. St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty likewise expressed disappointment at a small salary increase after he finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season.