Jordan Montgomery's new rumored contract request shows why Astros are staying away

The Astros have a number in mind, and this isn't it.
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros were in the mix for Blake Snell, but ultimately gave up on their pursuit once GM Dana Brown and the front office learned of the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner's contract demands.

While Snell's asking price had taken a tumble since the start of the season, the left-hander was still able to snag a two-year, $62 million contract with the San Francisco Giants. That average annual value (AAV) would've pushed the Astros past the next threshold of Major League Baseball's Competitive Balance Tax.

Astros fans won't want to hear this, but that is the the same reason their favorite team won't be going after Jordan Montgomery. Yes, Monty is still on the open market despite all major league teams opening play on Thursday. While Montgomery's reported asking price is not as high as Snell's, it's going to be too rich for the Astros' blood.

Jordan Montgomery's rumored new contract request shows why Astros are staying away

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Montgomery set out to sign a contract similar to that of Philadelphia Phillies starter Aaron Nola. That seven-year extension was valued at $172 million.

It now appears that Montgomery is willing to concede that $172 million is a bit too steep, and he's reportedly willing to accept a deal similar to what Tyler Glasnow signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The problem is, despite the overall contract value being lower ($136.5 million), the AAV ($27.5 million) is higher.

Per Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Astros estimated payroll heading into 2024 is be $258 million. If the Astros Opening Day payroll exceeds $277 million, then the surcharge jumps from 12% to 42.5%. That's not a number that Astros owner Jim Crane wants to pay, meaning that unless Montgomery wants to accept a deal with an AAV of $18 million, he won't be pitching in Space City this season.

Sherman also noted the New York Yankees have privately assessed Montgomery as a No. 3 starter and could be willing to offer the left-hander a contract akin to what Eduardo Rodriguez signed (four years, $80 million) this offseason. Even that number is too steep for the Astros.

It would seem that Houston will be heading into the 2024 season with the crop of starters currently on the team's active roster. Justin Verlander won't be far behind, and Jose Urquidy is on track to return to the Astros starting rotation as well. While it would be nice to have Montgomery in the fold, Houston has enough pitching depth to withstand the early-season injuries.

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