Astros News

Astros: Simulation shows payroll space limited for new additions

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 30: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, right, and Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow chat during battting practice at Minute Maid Park on June 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 30: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, right, and Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow chat during battting practice at Minute Maid Park on June 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Robinson Chirinos #28 of the Houston Astros reacts after popping out on a bunt attempt against the Washington Nationals during the second inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Robinson Chirinos #28 of the Houston Astros reacts after popping out on a bunt attempt against the Washington Nationals during the second inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Simulation

Admittedly, this is a bit of a self-critiquing exercise in crunching the numbers. Keep in mind, of course, that none of the moves outlined on this page have actually taken place; these only happened in our FanSided MLB Winter Meetings simulation.

The trade of Reddick for Mark Melancon actually brought in an additional $2.5 million of luxury tax salary, putting us right around $216.8 million. That only leaves around $11 million left, and even in my limited free agent spending, I still went over budget.

The deals for Robinson Chirinos ($5 million) and Rich Hill ($8 million) alone put us over the top. Add on deals for Andrew Cashner ($2 million), Danny Salazar ($1 million), Collin McHugh ($1 million) and Luis Avilan ($1 million) and we’re even further over.

We haven’t even gotten to George Springer‘s extension yet. His luxury tax salary under the contract extension would be slightly less than $2 million more than his projected arbitration salary for 2020, so that’s another small bump and even more added to Crane’s luxury tax bill.

Had I been able to clear all of Reddick’s salary, that would’ve left around $4 million in space under that $228 million cap with all the other additions. But then there would’ve been a hole in the bullpen without having acquired Melancon, and there’s no way to bring Will Harris back at $4 million.

As I wrote, clearing Reddick’s salary wasn’t going to happen. That’s what makes this whole operation so difficult, and it’s going to keep Luhnow busy trying to find ways to build a complete team while keeping the financial implications in mind.

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