For the fans hoping to see a reunion with Gerrit Cole, this has to come as unwelcome news. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much money Cole will command, but in our simulation, he ended up getting $289 million over eight years, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility. The Phillies were the ones who ponied up, but several other teams will be in the mix as well.
What that means is essentially the Astros cannot afford Cole unless they move some serious money off the books, either in the form of Springer or Zack Greinke. Moving Reddick and non-tendering Sanchez and a couple others isn’t going to give them the space to add more than $30 million annually for Cole.
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It doesn’t make much sense to move one high-priced player in order to add another. You fill one hole, but you open up another. In all likelihood, the Astros will take the draft pick compensation when Cole signs elsewhere and fill their needs more economically.
Now of course it is possible that the Astros don’t stick to the $228 million cap I’ve set here. But I would be highly surprised if they went beyond that, and I think Luhnow will be making every effort to trim as much payroll space as he can.
As far as 2021 goes, Michael Brantley‘s contract comes off the books, as well as Springer’s and Reddick’s. That should give them enough breathing room to get back under the luxury tax threshold to avoid paying steeper penalties as repeat offenders.
This is a tightrope that Luhnow will have to expertly walk in order to keep the roster stacked while also remaining within whatever financial parameters Crane sets. While we don’t know what cap Crane has given Luhnow, the moves the front office makes will slowly bring that into focus and give us an idea of what the club plans to do for 2020.