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Astros Avoid Arbitration With Trio, 2013 Payroll Likely Set

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Houston signed Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie and Wesley Wright to one-year deals on Friday, avoiding arbitration with all three.

Doug Pensinger

Congratulations, Bud Norris. You have the honor of being the highest paid player on the 2013 Astros right now. Norris, who was signed to a one-year, $3 million contract to avoid arbitration on Friday, narrowly edges out Carlos Pena for the top spot.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie also signed for a reported $2.4 million while left-handed reliever Wesley Wright agreed to a deal, but terms were not disclosed. MLB Trade Rumor's arbitration figures almost nailed all of these. MLBTR predicted $2.9 million for Budly, $1.9 million for Lowrie and $800,000 for Wright.

With these additions, we're also able to look at the payroll as a whole now. Astros County has already pointed out that almost 250 players in the big leagues next season will make more than Houston's highest paid guy. But, we can also add up all the known salaries and assume we've got an idea of the second- and third-year fixed-salary guys to figure out what the payroll will look like in 2013.

It's not much. By my calculations, Houston will have a payroll of $29 million on Opening Day, give or take a few dollars. If Edgar Gonzalez makes the roster, he'll earn an additional $525,000 million, which is slightly higher than some like Dallas Keuchel is projected for. Only five players on this year's roster will be making over a million and only four will earn $2 million or more.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Astros should have the lowest payroll in the league this season, next to the Miami Marlins' projected $36.325 payroll. Houston's $29 million could be the lowest payroll in the majors since the Marlins spent $21.8 million in 2008 and the Tampa Bay Rays spent $24.1 million in 2007. Since 2000, only eight teams have posted season with Opening Day payrolls under $30 million.