Astros: Simulation shows payroll space limited for new additions
With the FanSided MLB Winter Meetings simulation finished, here’s what we learned about the Astros payroll situation.
One of the most fascinating things to watch this offseason with respect to the Astros is how they manage their ballooning payroll. It’s going to be tight even if they stay away from the free agent market entirely. Of course, doing so may not be possible.
They have plenty of holes to fill, most notably behind the plate and on the mound. They are already projected to be over the luxury tax threshold of $208 million, though there is room for some cuts. Still, it’s going to be a difficult balancing act for Jeff Luhnow.
Owner Jim Crane has stated in the past that he has no interest in going over that luxury tax threshold, though his stance seems to have softened some lately. With that in mind, I’m going to pencil in the Astros’ payroll cap at $228 million for 2020.
Why that number? Teams who go over the $208 million mark for the first time have to pay a 20 percent tax on the amount they exceed that mark. If a team exceeds that mark by $20 million to $40 million, they pay an additional 12 percent tax. I would imagine Crane at least wants to avoid that extra surtax.
This is only a temporary solution, of course. If a team’s payroll remains over the luxury tax threshold in consecutive seasons, the tax rate increases each year. So for this to work, the Astros would need to get back under the threshold for 2021.