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Post-Trade Deadline Payroll Update

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The Astros, in fact, didn’t exceed the tax threshold for the 2021 season.

Houston Astros Introduce James Click Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Remember when James Click made those comments about possibly exceeding the tax threshold of $210 million before the trade deadline? Well, that development ultimately didn’t happen, which was no great surprise. The odds of the Astros choosing to absorb enough salary to push this team over the threshold amount always felt extremely low. Those comments made sense for the right player(s), but it takes more than a financial willingness to acquire impact players. While this club’s farm system isn’t barren, it didn’t have enough to entice potential trade partners. See the Dodgers-Nationals trade involving Max Scherzer and Trea Turner or the Cubs-White Sox swap for Craig Kimbrel as prime examples.

But we did see Click and his front office make various trades, mostly to address the middling bullpen. In turn, those trades have churned up the payroll to a degree, which makes one last payroll update appropriate. Today, this post will most likely be the last time I provide an update about the Astros’ payroll situation until the offseason when it becomes pertinent to the conversation again.

Instead of a table breaking down the entire roster for the fourth(?) time since February, I am presenting only the changes that hold significance since my last payroll update in mid-July.

  • The Astros are paying the following pro-rated portions for their four major league acquisitions at the trade deadline: Kendall Graveman ($454,960), Rafael Montero ($1,427,404), Yimi García ($684,405), and Phil Maton ($340,730);
  • In addition, there is also Jake Meyer’s salary to add ($196,288);
  • The club is saving the following pro-rated salaries for the following players traded at the deadline: Joe Smith ($1,462,340), Abraham Toro ($208,556), and Myles Straw ($206,310).

In total, if Meyers remains on the active roster for the rest of the season, the Astros absorbed roughly $1.226 million in additional salary for the 2021 season. Based on my update last month, Houston remains under the threshold by about $1.792 million. That final figure will vary somewhat with the main sites (Cot’s Baseball Contracts, RosterResource, and Spotrac) may have different figures for certain salaries. Ryan Pressly’s, for example, will look different as it is uncertain the exact breakdown for his annual value within his extension.

With the trade deadline now over, the Astros roster, and payroll figures, are more or less a lock for the rest of the season. Since they’re not exceeding the tax threshold, there will be no draft penalties for next year. For an organization that didn’t already have its own first- and second-round pick, in addition to not signing their fourth-round pick this year, that development is a positive in the long-term sense. Of course, the question will reasonably be raised if the front office did enough to bolster their chances of winning another World Series this season.