Astros: Pedro Baez to IL, issues with luxury tax
After the signing of Jake Odorizzi, the Houston Astros moved Pedro Baez to the 10-day injured list without cause. It has now been reported that the right-hander was the only player that tested positive for COVID-19, as one of the eight Houston pitchers to go through health and safety protocols.
The numbers behind Odorizzi’s signing also hinted to the front office reaching the luxury tax line mark if they do sign or add more contracts, which may indicate the futures of Steve Cishek and Steven Souza Jr. as Astros are not in the picture.
What happens when Astros pitcher Pedro Baez is done quarantining?
Although having two pitchers with possibly season-ending injuries, the front office opened a 40-man spot for Odorizzi by moving Baez to the IL. This move was not expected, but General Manager James Click also pointed to the fact the Astros have been looking at the right-hander even before Framber Valdez’s injury, while not having an update on his timetable.
After going through the health and safety protocol, it is evident that Baez would return to the 40-man roster, but this leaves the organization in the spot to move either Whitley or Valdez to the 60-day IL, if their injuries hold them out that long. Odorizzi hopes to hit the field later this week, once he is done with the intake process.
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The Odorizzi contract does put the payroll in a tricky situation, while the team doesn’t have the easiest ways to contract dump or defer anymore money. Non-roster invites like Cishek and Souza are among those expected to make the 26-man roster, but the team would have to possibly go over the luxury tax to do this. By doing this, the team would get fined and possibly lose draft picks, that would hurt their crop even more after losing picks due to the sign stealing scandal.
The numbers vary from Spotrac and FanGraphs, but the leftover money after the Odorizzi signing would not fit Cishek and Souza’s expected contracts. Other players that are going through quarantine are expected to make it back to camp later this week, if everything goes to plan according to Click.