Well, color me shocked — the Houston Astros are going to spend less money on players than any other major league team in 2014. According to the Associated Press, Houston ranks 30th in total payroll. The team is scheduled to dish out $45 million in 2014, up from $27 million last season.
“High-paying” acquisitions such as Scott Feldman ($12 million) and Dexter Fowler ($7.85 million) have helped increase the team’s payroll by $18 million — roughly a 66% boost. That is a significant increase, especially considering outside of those two players no one in Houston is making more than three and a half million dollars. The Astros have 19(!!) players on their 25-man roster that will make close to $500,000 — the league minimum.
Now, before you start screaming about how the Astros are tanking, or how they should have spent all this “extra” money on George Springer (I guarantee you a national baseball writer will publish something to that effect in the next 24 hours), remember that this was all part of the plan.
The Astros have young players. Those young players make the league minimum in their first three years in the big leagues. That’s how Major League Baseball works. Houston is not doing anything out of the ordinary, or shady, and they are certainly not intentionally tanking.
Astros owner Jim Crane has said multiple times that he will start to pay players when the time is right. That time is just not yet.
So, when national media members start up their talk about how “The Astros low payroll is ruining the integrity of Base Ball,” realize that simply isn’t the case. The Miami Marlins will pay approximately $3 million more dollars to its players in 2014.
The time is coming soon when Houston will be back in the top tier of baseball’s spenders, but there is absolutely no reason for them to be there now. So what if the Astros aren’t spending as much money as other teams? Let’s recognize the plan the front office has in place and move on.