The Current Situation
The Astros are currently projected to end up with a luxury tax payroll around $223 million, which would put them under that $228 million cap. Keep in mind that when it comes to the luxury tax, it generally uses the average annual value of a player’s deal rather than their salary in that given year.
So for example, while Jose Altuve is set to make $29 million in 2020, his luxury tax figure is only around $23.3 million thanks to him earning less money in the latter years of his contract. Conversely, while Alex Bregman will earn $12.6 million in 2020, his luxury tax figure is $20 million, as he will earn more money in the latter years of his deal.
That $223 million projection includes estimated arbitration salaries of $5.6 million for Aaron Sanchez, $2 million for Chris Devenski and $1.5 million for Joe Biagini. All three could possibly be non-tendered, removing them (and their salaries) from the roster.
It also includes the $13 million Josh Reddick is set to make next year. This is a big reason why he’s a legitimate trade candidate, as the Astros could really use that payroll space for other needs. Kyle Tucker is much cheaper and is the superior offensive player at this point.
But even if they’re able to completely get rid of those four players’ salaries (which is unlikely in Reddick’s case), they’re still sitting at around $201 million, leaving them less than $27 million to work with. It’ll take some frugal shopping to fill all the team’s needs with that amount of money.