Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Thursday, December.27,  2012


Nicholas Rossoletti (Baseball Writer):

The 2013 Houston Astros payroll is one of the stranger payrolls to look at given the current state of baseball where player’s salaries seem to be ever-increasing.  Before Dec.18, the Astros were paying exactly one player above One Million Dollars annually.  That player was shortstop, Jed Lowrie. Then, the team added 1B/DH Carlos Pena to its roster on a one year deal for approximately $2.9 Million according to reports and reliever, Jose Veras on a 1 Year/$1.85 Million dollar deal.  Thats it.  Three players earning more than a Million Dollars on a professional baseball franchise approximately sixty (60) days until pitchers and catchers report. (Please note that the Astros are rumored to be interested in signing Third Baseman Jose Lopez who may be added to this list). These are your 2013 Houston Astros, who are a far cry from the Astros of the mid-2000’s who signed Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, traded for Carlos Beltran and made a run at a World Series. 


Jose Altuve was named an ALL-Star Reserve at 2B in 2012 with his .309 AVG in the 1st half and after appearing in the 2011 Futures Game.  He hit .290 with 33 SB and 80 Runs in his 1st full season.  He is under club control until 2018.

Jose Altuve was named an ALL-Star Reserve at 2B in 2012 with his .309 AVG in the 1st half and after appearing in the 2011 Futures Game. He hit .290 with 33 SB and 80 Runs in his 1st full season. He is under club control until 2018.

Houston Astros Payroll in 2013:

Signed Contracts:

Carlos Pena, 1B/DH- 1 Year/$2.9 Million

Jose Veras, RP- 1 Year/$1.85 Million

Jed Lowrie, SS/3B- 1 Year/$1.15 Million (Pre-Arbitration; we should expect this number to increase.)

Phillip Humber- SP- 1 Year/$800,000- with a club option for 3 Million for the 2014 season.

Projected Payroll after this category:  8.7 Million

Arbitration Eligible for 2013:

Wesley Wright, RP- 1 year/$512,000 (expected to increase via arbitration)

Bud Norris, SP- 1 year/$511,000 (expected to increase via arbitration)

These are their 6 big contracts at the moment, which should tell you all you need to know about the state of the organization at the major league level.  They are rebuilding in a big way.  However, these contracts are unlikely to stay the only Million Dollar (or almost Million Dollar) deals on the roster.  Both Wesley Wright and Bud Norris are eligible for arbitration this year, and Norris, coming off a $511,000 contract should see that value at least double in arbitration considering his 165 K’s in 169 Innings (good for a 8.82 K/9) and his 29 Games Started.  It is also telling that the Astros have started discussing trades involving Norris as he moves towards his first major payday in his pro career.  Wesley Wright will have a lesser pay day but is also Arbitration Eligible which should equate to him seeing at least somewhat of a raise for the 2013 season so we can expect that $512,000 to increase.

Total Payroll in this Category:  Approx 2.5 Million:  Overall Payroll now at 11.2 Million

The rest of this team at the current time, is for lack of a better term, cheap.  This is a fairly interesting scenario because the Astros are accumulating surplus value on the Major Leaguers being paid league minimum, but they are also sacrificing any real ability to compete in the present.  Players like Jose Altuve are offering a very nice value as they move through their first three years of service time.  The rest of the Houston payroll for its starting lineup and pitching staff is, well, incredibly similar. 

Buyouts For Exiting Players 2013 Dollars:

Chris Snyder  C:  500,000

Wandy Rodriguez SP:  6,500,000  (Astros will also pay 5.5  Million of his contract in 2014)

Total Payroll for this Category:  7.0 Million Dollars:  Overall Payroll now at 18.2 Million

Entry Level and Pre-Arbitration Eligible:

Brett Wallace, 1B- 1 Year/$480,000 (Arbitration Eligible 2014)

Jose Altuve, 2B- 1 Year/$483,000 (Arbitration Eligible 2015)

Matt Dominguez, 3B- 1 Year/$480,000 (Not guaranteed to start the season with the team if Jose Lopez is signed)

JD Martinez, OF- 1 Year/$483,000 (Arbitration Eligible 2015)

Justin Maxwell, OF- 1 Year/$480,000 (Arbitration Eligible 2014)

Fernando Martinez, OF- 1 Year/$480,000 (Arbitration Eligible in 2015)

Jason Castro, C- 1 Year/$486,000 (Arbitration Eligible 2014)

Lucas Harrell, SP- 1 Year/$482,000 (Arbitration Eligible 2015) 

Marwin Gonzalez  SS.3B- 1 Year, 487,5000 (Arbitration Eligible in 2015)

10 More Players making Another 5.0 Million Combined.

Total for this Category:  11 Million Dollars  Total Payroll Overall:  29.2 Million

The team spent all of last season getting rid of whatever high-priced talent it had left in an effort to clear the debris from a series of flawed personal decisions.  The Astros have rebuilt themselves as a lean, tough organization whose primary interest is in developing from within.  The Astros have acquired one of the deepest farm systems in the league after that system was essentially a laughing stock three years ago.  Even with other additions to this team (none of which should be expected to be high priced), the Astros payroll will fall in the bottom five in the major leagues this season. 


As for the future, the Astros will have to determine where they fall as an organization now that they are in the American League.  The Houston market is sufficient to support a team that spends money, and the Astros, in the recent past, have spent to add to a contender.  As management has recently changed, it is hard to predict how Houston will structure itself financially moving forward, however, it is easy a likely bet that the Astros will eventually climb back into the realm of the respectable as far as payroll is concerned.  As we see the slow filtration of Houston’s prospects into the major league club over the course of the next two to three seasons, the Astros will probably be hesitant to increase payroll a great deal.  Once some of those prospects take root and begin to perform, I would expect the Astros to stop shopping for Free Agents in the bargain bins and begin structuring a veteran support system for their growing talent.  Until then, hopefully, the Astros will pay their younger talent like Lowrie and Altuve enough to give the fans something to cheer for. 

Free Agency:

The club will need two to three Starting Pitchers to add for the start of the season.  The Astros will not break the bank, however they maybe poised to spend about 10-12 Million.  Pitchers like Dallas Braden, Joe Saunders, Jonathan Sanchez, Kevin Slowey, Jeff Karstens and Jair Jurrjens are the kind of pitchers the club could probably afford.  The club should also look to find a few cheap relievers to add with the mix.  They will not spend much on these guys either.

Total Payroll for this Category:  12.8 Million:  Projected Team Payroll to Start 2013:  42-45 Million Dollars.

The Astros will need to spend enough money to qualify for the Revenue Sharing Program implemented by MLB.  It is going to be tough going against the Angels in the Division, who will be 100 Million+ more dollars in Total Payroll than Houston.  Seattle and Oakland look to be in their normal ranges of 50-60 Million and 65-75 Million Dollars respectively, while the Rangers will be sure to crack 100 Million for yet another year.

Lucas Harrell was the teams best Starting Pitcher in 2012, going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA.  He is under club control until 2018

Lucas Harrell was the teams best Starting Pitcher in 2012, going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA. He is under club control until 2018.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

a    nicholas rossoletti

A big thank-you goes out to  Nicholas Rossoletti for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a young professional living in downtown Miami.  He is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid Yankee supporter.  Having grown up during the last two decades, he counts Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as his favorite ball players of all time.  He believes in sabermetrics and that new stats have already changed the way the baseball industry sees players.  He was for Trout over Cabrera, he thinks RBIs tell you a lot more about a team than a player and that defense and pitching, ultimately, win championships.  Rational thought and introspective analysis over the narrative is how we come to understand the game we love.  The narrative is just a way to keep those who don’t really love the game watching.   Feel free to follow Nicholas on twitter and talk the game of baseball

 “There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.” ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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Posted on December 27, 2012, in MLB Payroll and Contracts, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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