The Astros Are Having A Decent Winter

The Astros had a collection of players that only equaled a little over the league minimum for the entire roster.  This year, the club has filled some holes, and will spend more on 3 Free Agent acquisition's, than what the team payroll was in 2013.  The club picks #1 in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft yet again, so saving money for future years is a smart practice.

The Astros had a collection of players that only equaled a little over the league minimum for the entire roster. This year, the club has filled some holes, and will spend more on 3 Free Agent acquisition’s, than what the team payroll was in 2013. The club picks #1 in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft yet again, so saving money for future years is a smart practice.  Houston is easily the lowest payroll team in the AL West, with the Angels hovering around the Luxury Tax Threshold, the Rangers spending in the $140 MIL range, the Mariners pole vaulting up the team salaries chart – by signing Cano, while still employing “King” Felix Hernandez.  The Athletics are even nearing the $70 MIL mark, still about $25 – $30 MIL more than the Astros projected budget.

By Lee White (Astros Correspondent) 

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The Houston Astros came into the offseason with bolstering the bullpen in mind. They have done just that, but still have work to do. Early during the offseason, the Astros signed Peter Moylan to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.

Just before the Winter Meetings, they added Chad Qualls, who will make a nice addition to the back end of the bullpen.

During the Winter Meetings, they traded their first round pick in the Rule 5 draft for Anthony Bass from the San Diego Padres, who could pitch out of the pen or the rotation.

Monday the 16th, the Astros signed Matt Albers. If you’re keeping tabs, that’s the second reliever from the 2007 the Astros have signed this offseason.

Matt Albers Ejected

The Astros brought Albers back, not because he is from Houston, though he is, or because he has Houston ties, but because he fits the mold that General Manager wants his pitchers to have. Albers had a pretty extreme ground ball percentage (GB%) last season (63.8%), and we all know Luhnow loves those ground ball pitchers. In fact, lets take a look at the recent acquisitions and their GB% based on last season’s stats.  Scott Feldman’s GB% last year 49.6%, Anthony Bass’ GB% was 45%, Chad Qualls’ GB% was 63.3%. In Peter Moylan’s last full season, 2010, his GB% was 67.8%.

The Astros brought Albers back, not because he is from Houston, though he is, or because he has Houston ties, but because he fits the mold that General Manager wants his pitchers to have. Albers had a pretty extreme ground ball percentage (GB%) last season (63.8%), and we all know Luhnow loves those ground ball pitchers. In fact, lets take a look at the recent acquisitions and their GB% based on last season’s stats. Scott Feldman’s GB% last year 49.6%, Anthony Bass’ GB% was 45%, Chad Qualls’ GB% was 63.3%. In Peter Moylan’s last full season, 2010, his GB% was 67.8%.

Given that the Astros are actually spending real money this offseason, I don’t think the Astros are finished signing relievers.

In fact, I think the next pitcher the Astros tried to sign was a familiar name in Jose Veras. Veras, as most of know, was apart of the Astros before they traded him to the Detroit Tigers.

During the Winter Meeting,s the hot rumor surrounding Jose Veras was that he wanted to return to Houston. In fact, they were discussing a contract for a while, but he since signed with the Cubs.

I, for one, hoped the Astros would have been able to complete a deal with  Veras – just like the team did with bringing back relief man Chad Qualls. But it was not to be.

Scott Feldman, is slated as the Astros #1 Starter, the club picked up a 5 tool CF in Dexter Fowler.  The franchise is building the club the way you are supposed to – and that is through the draft.

Some fans were hoping for Houston to be more serious on Shin-Soo Choo, however him signing for a 7 YR/$130 MIL was too rich for the team’s blood.

When the Astros core of players are all turning the corner, Choo would have likely started his decline in his mid 30’s. 

Besides, spending nearly 50% of your club’s payroll on one player does not fit with the motto of the team’s brass.

The Astros were said to have mild interest in Choo - before he he ended up signing with State Rivals Texas.  Signing a high priced Free Agent is just not conducive for the club to do yet.  They should continue to grow the young players in the organization, and then supply the talent when the prospects all mature.  Perhaps in the winter 2 - 3 years down the road the franchise can risk the dough it will take to sign a player of Choo's caliber on the open market.

The Astros were said to have mild interest in Choo – before he he ended up signing with State Rivals Texas. Signing a high priced Free Agent is just not conducive for the club to do yet. They should continue to grow the young players in the organization, and then supply the talent when the prospects all mature. Perhaps in the winter 2 – 3 years down the road the franchise can risk the dough it will take to sign a player of Choo’s caliber on the open market.

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

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A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Astros Correspondent’ Lee White for preparing today’s featured article. Lee is currently a writer at strosbros.wordpress.com.

He has been an Astros fan his whole life and has a deep knowledge about the team as a whole. Lee currently goes to college about an hour away from Houston.  Lee has attended countless games at Minute Maid Park. 

Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter 

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About Lee White

Just a small town kid with a dream. I love all sports, but mostly Astros baseball. My blogs are obviously all about the Houston Astros. I've been a fan of them since birth. I also love the Dallas Cowboys, and Dallas Mavericks. I don't blog about them, but tweet about them. If you want to see what I think about those teams, com follow me on Twitter @Moguls73. Hope you guys follow along and enjoy my blog!

Posted on December 26, 2013, in Free Agency, MLB Payroll and Contracts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Astros Are Having A Decent Winter.

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