Lots of things happened in the last five days that made Houston's payroll situation much clearer.
The Astros traded a trio of prospects to the Braves for two players. They signed a bunch of guys to one-year deals, avoiding arbitration. They also trade Dexter Fowler to the Cubs. That freed up a ton of money and gave us a clearer picture of what Houston's 25-man roster should look like.
Fowler's arbitration salary was the biggest domino to fall. While the team and
Figure the Astros had about $9.5 million penciled into the budget tentatively for that, but they added just about $4.8 million between Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily. Evan Gattis, the other big acquisition, is set to make
Here's a look at what the current 25-man roster will make in 2015:
Scott Feldman - $10 million
Jed Lowrie - $8 million
Luke Gregerson - $6.5 million
Pat Neshek - $5.5 million
Luis Valbuena - $4.2 million
Chris Carter - $4.175 million
Jason Castro - $4 million
Chad Qualls - $3 million
Jose Altuve - $2.5 million
Tony Sipp - $2.4 million
Jon Singleton - $2 million
Alex Presley - $1.1 million
Hank Conger - $1.08 million
Marwin Gonzalez - $1 million (projected)
Carlos Corporan - $975,000
Matt Dominguez - $550,000
Will Harris - $550,000
Dallas Keuchel - $550,000
Josh Fields - $550,000
Jake Marisnick - $550,000
Collin McHugh - $550,000
Brett Oberholtzer - $550,000
Dan Straily - $550,000
Evan Gattis - $550,000
George Springer - $550,000
That gets you to $62 million total for the 25-man roster. Not all of these players will be on the Opening Day roster, but their replacements (like James Hoyt) should at least provide comparable salaries.
Last year's Opening Day payroll had contributions from 28 players, including the $5 million in deferred Wandy Rodriguez money, which is now off the Astros' books.
Last season's payroll was at $50,485,800. Assuming the Astros really had $20 million over that 2014 payroll to spend, they could go another $8 million in free agency or trade to fix this roster. Could that mean they make a run at James Shields? Could they save that and make an impact trade at the deadline?
The market is dwindling right now, but one report over the weekend suggested that one reason teams haven't broken the bank for guys like James Shields is that their budgets are maxed out.
It does not appear that the Astros are in that situation. Maybe they can do like Jeff Luhnow said and sit pat to Opening Day.
But, if they want to improve this team more, they should have the payroll flexibility to do so.