My impression has always been that the Astros were simply waiting for the right time and the right players to open up Jim Crane’s wallet. Given the current state of the club, spending money is really irrelevant which makes the waiting game the right move. Which makes Dan Knobler’s tweet concerning the Astros spending mindset very disturbing. Knobler says the Cubs tried to basically give Alfonso Soriano to the Stros, selling the idea that he would be their DH, but the Stros turned down a potential deal because they didn’t have the money to get it done. What, not enough money to take on a small portion of his contract?
The whole belief that the Astros don’t have enough money to take on Soriano’s remaining contract blows my mind and has me searching for answers. The first possibility that comes to mind is that Knobler’s source was simply wrong. I mean that never happens, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume the source is valid. So, where does that leave the good guys? How can a club who has reached a historically low level of payroll, almost be out of cash? In the above scenario, the Cubbies were going to basically gift wrap Soriano, paying most of his salary. If my theory holds any water, the Stros simply chose not to sign the former slugger and rather search for a longer term option. That seems like a logical scenario and given Soriano’s past, I’d bet money on it.
What if my theory doesn’t hold water and the Stros are truly looking for change under the sofa cushions at Minute Maid? It would truly bring a dark cloud of negativity over the team’s fan base. The team’s commitments are ridiculously low and saying they’re out of money would basically mark the beginning of small market baseball in Houston. That is the dreaded reality most Astrros’ fans had hoped to avoid. Aren’t we supposed to be a mid-major market? And, while not at the level of the east coast or LA teams, the rest of baseball should be in play. Jim Crane, being a new owner, should be able to handle a couple million a year, right?
Dan Knobler’s tweet was both confusing and concerning for a fan base looking for positive news. How could the Astros be out of money? Did they simply not want to spend on that particular player but would be open to spending on others? Maybe the fact and reality we all need to accept and embrace is that the Houston Astros won’t have money to spend on helpful pieces of the puzzle but not by choice, rather necessity. Depressing reality, isn’t it.