Rumor: Astros named mystery team in on Bryce Harper
By Brian Murray
The Houston Astros have been named one of the “mystery” teams rumored to be involved with free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.
The rumors have been flying this offseason about where free agent Bryce Harper will sign. First, the Phillies are the favorite, then the Nationals may be close to re-signing him, it seems to change weekly, if not daily. There has also been talk of “mystery” teams involved with the star outfielder. Richard Justice of MLB.com has named the Astros as one of those possible teams.
The Astros were seeking a trade deal with the Washington Nationals for Harper back in July of last season, only to be denied by their ownership. Well, now that he’s a free agent, the Nationals have no say in it. If the Houston front office had their eyes on Harper then, why not now?
Owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow have indicated that they are willing to spend this offseason. The threshold for hitting the dreaded luxury tax this year will be $206 million and Crane said he might be willing to raise their payroll near that point. The Astros certainly have payroll room left for that big offseason move that everyone is waiting for.
"“I’d say if the right situation came along — certainly we’re not going over [the luxury-tax threshold] — but we could move closer to that,” Crane said. “We were pretty high up in the food chain last year. A lot of teams realize the penalty is pretty severe if you go over. We’ll stay within the strike zone.” via MLB.com"
I can’t imagine adding a ROY Award winning, six-time All-Star, MVP, to the Astros hitting lineup not being the “right situation”. As MLB.com correspondent Richard Justice points out, the window of opportunity for another World Series Championship in Houston may be shrinking. Now may be the time for that big money acquisition.