Astros 2015: The path to $75 million and 85 wins


The consensus of the experts on this blog is that the Astros may top out at $65 million for its 2015 payroll. Even Jim Crane predicts the Astros’ payroll will increase by $20 million from 2014 to 2015. Depending on the figures you use, that could mean $65-$70 million.

So that essentially puts the expert predictions of blog followers on par with Crane’s expectations. Here’s the reality: If the Astros spend only $65-$70 million next season, it will likely be the lowest payroll in baseball. Again.

Yes, there are plenty of Astros’ players who will be making the minimum or near-minimum salary next season that will “help” to keep the payroll lower, but a $75 million payroll isn’t far-fetched.

Let’s take inventory of where things stand today.

You can take a look at the MLB 2014 payroll list, though it does not include Wandy Rodriguez‘ $5 million. For the Astros, these are the guaranteed salaries for 2015.

Options.

Several players are due arbitration this off-season, but the Astros are likely to offer it to only a few. Jesus Guzman, Alex Presley, Carlos Corporan, Alex White and Anthony Bass are potential non-tenders or may work out other deals, but don’t expect to see them in arbitration.

Dexter Fowler, Jason Castro, Chris Carter and Marwin Gonzalez will either get extensions or go through the arbitration process. Matt Dominguez and Dallas Keuchel both will miss Super 2 status by only a handful of days, though the latter could be an extension candidate. We’ll use these approximate projections for our 2015 payroll numbers, assuming these players are back in Houston.

  • Fowler (Year 4) $11 million.
  • Castro (Year 3). $5 million.
  • Carter (Year 1). $3 million.
  • Gonzalez (Year 1). $1.5 million.

For the sake of our discussion, let’s assume there are 10 players on the roster who will earn at or near the minimum ($500,000). This list will include players like Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Josh Fields, Michael Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano, as well as Jonathan Villar, Matt Domingeuz and Max Stassi. Whether or not these are the actual names, we’ll use 10 as the figure of players in this group.

Together with the above groups, there are 18 players (not counting Albers) who will earn approximately $43 million. That leaves approximately $20-$30 million for Jeff Luhnow to use for free agent signings, acquiring additional salary through trades or rewarding current players with extensions.

How Luhnow ranks his priorities and which players are available will obviously impact which positions are arranged, but realistically, this calculation could allow the Astros to bring in 2-3 big name free agents.

Conclusion. Luhnow has plenty of options. Trades. Extensions. Free agents. The above theory presumes that players like Castro, Carter and Fowler will return, but moving a player like Fowler and filling the outfield with younger players provides Luhnow even more flexibility to fill the holes on the left side of the infield and in the bullpen.

Look for a roster shuffle and don’t cringe if the opening day roster is only $65 million. Remember, the year will come when Houston will add payroll at the trade deadline, so it shouldn’t be shocking if Luhnow takes on salary after opening day in an effort to reach the 85-win total.

Prediction. Expect one bigger free agent signing. A closer like David Robertson, a DH such as Victor Martinez, OF Nelson Cruz or one of the significant third base options (Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval etc.) could be on the radar and shouldn’t be discounted, though it’s likely the Astros won’t dabble in that Class A grouping. Other lesser possibilities (e.g. platoon options, stop-gap solutions, etc.) will fill out the roster.

Now for the questions of how you’d solve the puzzle:

  • Should the Astros venture into the world of 3-4 year (or even 5-year) contracts that approach $14-$15 million per season?
  • If you answered yes to the above question — and assuming there would be only one of those contracts available — which player would you target?
  • Estimate the extensions that Keuchel and Springer should receive this winter.
  • Simple question: If Albers is healthy this winter should the Astros pick up his option? Despite your opinion, will the Astros pick up the option?
  • Jose Veras will be a free agent and could factor into the 2015 bullpen equation. Do you offer a one or two year deal? For how much?
  • The Astros added about $20 million to payroll this season and Crane suggests upping the ante another $20 million this winter. Using that as a guide, the Astros could have a $90+ million payroll in 2016. Your thoughts?
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63 comments on “Astros 2015: The path to $75 million and 85 wins

  1. File this under “You bought your britches, so you might as well wear them out.” I see no reason to deviate from “the plan” this year and maybe even next year. I do not see any one free agent that is going to put the team “over the top.” Play the youngsters and hope for minimal improvement in 2015. (Maybe even tread water). Now if someone knocked your socks off by wanting Castro for a 3rd baseman, a hitting 1st baseman, or a rock solid bullpen addition – then make the trade conditional on signing Russell Martin. (You can move around like you mentioned of maybe moving Fowler by filling one of the holes). When I see Ramirez at $16, Headley at $9.5, V Mart at $12, and then talking about multi-years — If I am Luhnow, I get cold feet QUICK.

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    • So why should people pay good money to go out and watch our major league club tread water? Whatever happened to the concept of winning? It amazes me that some are still willing to accept continued failure.

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      • Daveb – I know you were not picking on me. My thought was we should have started adding right after dumping Wandy and Carlos Lee. It did not happen. Nor the following year. So now we have decided to hike up a mountainside on foot. We are 1/2 way up the hill. Too late to rent a jeep. So when I look at the FAs they are too expensive for me to invest. And the money invested (plus the time) in the farm, we either need to package them for someone on another team under that team’s control or wait until they develop. The rebuild is three or more years under way. We now have the problem of keeping some out of the Rule 5 draft and also it is starting to be “money time” for the home grown players. Keuchel and Springer should be offered decent long term deals this off season.

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    • I agree with sticking to the plan, but that doesn’t mean we should expect or settle for minimal improvement. The plan was to first concentrate on developing the farm system and, once this has been done, which it has, then improve the major league team. The time has come to expect the Astros to improve. With that being said, I would whole-heartedly concur we shouldn’t give Aramis Ramirez $16M/year, but I would love someone like VMart on this team. You could even give him some starts at 1B, alternating him and C.C. (I am of the belief Singleton needs more time in AAA). I don’t see a good option at 3B on the free agency market so I am looking at 1B. If we upgrade at 1B we could live with Matty D at 3B for one more season with occassional starts given to MarGo or even Petit until Moran or Ruiz is ready.

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      • I know this is a surprise, but I totally agree with you. When I saw V Mart listed for that amount, the first thing that went through my head was a top of the order of:
        Fowler
        Altuve
        Martinez
        Springer
        Having the league leader in OBP/OPS hitting behind Altuve and in front of Springer, goodness that makes it so much easier to bear up if Grossman isn’t hitting as well or Marisnick isn’t walking too much.
        One can’t help but think the team would avg .5 runs more a game with a guy like that added to a lineup that didn’t see enough of Springer last year either. Marisnick’s defense in the OF.
        If you add another good arm to the bullpen and add.5 runs per game you are starting to roll without blowing up the payroll or rushing your prospects.
        Good Job, Tim

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      • So Tim, what to do with Chris Carter? Without looking, I am not sure that VMart is any better than CC over at first. I am not opposed to trading CC in favor of VMart. VMart is certainly a more reliable option, and CC is selling high. But 3/$45MM plus tax?

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      • I am suggesting we keep both and Singleton starts the season at Fresno. They are all below average defensively so we can get by with Carter and VMart playing 1B and DH this season.

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      • Agree! VMart for 3 years for $45M to share 1B/DH with Chris Carter would plug a huge hole, allow Singleton to develop, legitimize the organization on many levels, and provide a bridge to the 2017 World Series Champions.

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      • Devin, my thinking was for Martinez, an OBP machine, to be on base before Springer does his thing, rather than after. What I’m hoping for is that by 2016, maybe another hit machine, Correa or Moran or both, might be ready to hit in the five spot to clean up what Springer might have left out there.
        Between Fowler and Altuve, there would be a lot runners on second with less than two outs for Martinez to drive in. He is so experienced that I think he would take the pressure off of Springer by having him on base, runs already in, and a relaxed Springer ready to hit a pitcher who is already in trouble.
        I don’t know, I guess I’m a dreamer, but with Fowler perhaps gone by 2016, having signed Martinez could give you
        Kemp
        Altuve
        Martinez
        Springer
        Correa
        Moran
        at the top of the order in April 2016
        You fill in the bottom three spots with the best three guys you have for defense and contact.
        The Crawford Boxes will probably turn a good contact/ decent power guy like Correa into a 20-30 HR guy in his career.

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      • Understood. My reasoning is that Altuve’s speed puts pressure on the pitcher to throw more fastballs. I want to maximize those for Springer. With VMart or Carter on first there is little incentive to keep the ball out of the dirt and in an area the catcher can handle for a quick transfer. Also, consider:
        Fowler – .375
        Altuve – .377
        Springer – .336
        VMart – .409
        Carter – .308
        Etc.

        I want hitters on base in front of Springer and Carter. Their value, due to low BA (resulting in pedestrian OBP) diminishes when the bases are empty.

        I like your 2016 lineup very much.

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      • The realist in me says there is no way you prying Victor Martinez to play in Houston.

        Is there really any way a 36 year old DH for a world series contender dumps all of that to come to a place where he might be the help they need to get to 80 wins? Do you think thats how he wants to close out his career? Is that a realistic idea or fantasy fan talk?

        I mean, we could win a lot of games if we could just get a rotation of Kershaw, Hernandez and Price to pitch with Keuchel and McHugh. Maybe we can get Trout and Harper to play opposite sides of Springer.

        Realistically, you have no chance at VMart, but thanks for the trip to fantasy land.

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      • Steven, in the entry, I suggested the Astros could/should go after players “like” VMart, Cruz, etc. I also indicated I didn’t believe they would dabble in those “A” class levels. Still, at some point, whether it’s this winter or next, Luhnow will reach the point that he needs to add a key bat or key pitcher.

        And, yes, whether it’s this year or next, he’ll probably need to outspend another team and convince the player there is a future in Houston. I do believe you’ll hear that the Astros are “in” on certain players this winter in a way they haven’t been before.

        But, last year, we weren’t even able to have these conversations with such speculation. Unfortunately, if Baltimore re-signs Cruz this week and other players come off the board sooner than later, it will drive up the price of those remaining. Stay tuned.

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      • Chip – not disagreeing that the end of the 2015 season maybe looking better – a TV deal will be in place, the team should be better this time next year than right now assuming the safe things – improvement from Singleton, McHugh in rotation from the start, full season of Springer – but thats for discussion next year.

        Right now’s discussion is one guy saying another guy “accepts losing” because he points out that the free agent options for this year are not cheap, reliable, or likely to look at Houston as a spot to contend.

        There aren’t players on the market like VMart and Cruz, there are only VMart and Cruz. The Ramirezes look like old, expensive, unreliable options.

        What do I think we might end up with – something like 2 years of Alberto Callaspo at third. Here is a guy that can sign for 2 yr/12 mil, motivated by his first opportunity to win a job outright, coming off a bad season at .223/.290/.290 with an excessively lower BABIP than usual, which means you can expect some improvement. At 31 you would have to expect the regression isn’t age related and he is capable of bouncing back and hitting better. He doesn’t strike out much at all, which is a plus in this lineup – and could fit the 7-8 hole comfortably. Dominguez still comes to camp, maybe even breaks with the team, and if Callaspo isn’t playing well Dominguez steps back in – Callaspo is also a competent infielder at many positions, can pinch hit when you need contact.

        He is the type of FA I see being targeted, yes, he is chancy, he might not hit at all, but he might. You aren’t luring the big dogs, not yet. Hey, its all good blog fun to talk about how VMart or Cruz might fit this lineup, but when reality sets in, it will be the Callaspo’s of the world manning our undermanned positions.

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  2. I think the cheap options go a little farther. You didn’t mention Oberholtzer. There’s another $500,000 player. And I hate to quibble (I’m lying. I love to quibble.), but I think we’re looking at Petit over Villar. In fact, I think the $500,000 players include Springer, Marisnick, Fourth Outfielder, Petit, Foltynewicz, Sipp, Fields, McHugh, Keuchel, Corporan, Other Bench Guy (Maybe Dominguez if not traded), and One More Reliever.

    That’s a dozen plus the others.

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    • Not to quibble with your quibbles, but both Sipp and Corporan are arb-eligible (Sipp his 3rd year) so neither will be playing for near the minimum, at least not in Houston. Names are interchangeable, but I still think the number is 10.

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      • I stand (actually, I’m sitting) corrected.

        OK, so I think if we’re looking at filing out a roster, that means to take care of the Astros’ outfield ($12.5 million total), the infield minus a third baseman ($7.69 million), both catchers ($7 million) and four of the rotation spots($11.5 million). That’s four plus five plus two plus four, oh, and the DH ($3 million). That’s 16 players for $40 million, plus I think we have several bullpen spots such as Sipp ($1.5 million), Qualls ($3 million), Fields, Foltynewicz, Buchanan and Deduno (all at league minimum). Now we’re at 22. So, say that’s up to $46.5 million.

        The three spots left to fill are third base, closer and another starter. And we’ve got between $18.5 million ($65 million total) and $23.5 million ($70 million total) left. I don’t think we need to spend more than $4 million on a closer. That means nearly 20 million at the upper amount to get a third baseman and a starter.

        Now I’m fine with Keuchel as our ace. His numbers are very sustainable. With any run support and bullpen support, he’s a shut-down, get-a-win pitcher. I think McHugh, when his fingernails don’t hurt, is close to the same. Feldman is a very good No.3 starter, and Obie is a bulldog at No. 5. That means we need someone of No. 2-4 quality. If Feldman is worth $10 million, then say $10 million for the pitcher. Then we need to find a third baseman for $9.5 million.

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  3. Like I said above, I go after V Mart, even if he costs the supplemental pick. You just don’t get bats like that very often.
    I don’t know why the Keuchel/Springer extension question is so hard. I’m not sure either gets extended.
    I say no on Albers only because of the amount. I can’t guess on the Astros because they are the ones following his rehab.
    I would offer Veras 1 year, 1 million, plus incentives(50+ appearances?) and a 1 yr club option. He turned down our offer last year and it won’t help that he had to sign a minor league deal after he got cut.
    I’d be surprised if the Astros have a $90mil payroll in 2016. That’s when the prospects start to show up.

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  4. Let’s go back to what Jim Crane REALLY said……which was he would ok, another
    $20 million, BUT that doesn’t mean he will SPEND that much money. Sooo we will have to wait and see if Luhnow is given the green light to spend ALL of that money.
    Victor Martinez will cost around $12+ a year, and he probably won’t want to sign
    a one year contract. He has said he wants a three year deal, and he wants to
    retire after playing another three years. I don’t see ANY guy coming to the Astros
    on a one year contract. I think you gotta pony up some money for Keuchel, and Castro, unless you’re going to trade Castro. Veras should be grateful he was
    picked up by the Astros, a one year $1 million deal, nothing else. Luhnow won’t resign Albers, so we can forget that guy, but I’m like Roger Clemens, this team
    HAS to go out and secure a front line starter to anchor this rotation, and at least two more bullpen arms……..not named Jesse Crain. My prediction is we will see Matty D. at 3rd. and Singelton at 1rst. to open the 2015 season. Springer should be you #1 priority in the next few weeks, and show him some respect, by offering him a REAL
    deal, and not the Jon Singelton “anything will do” contract. I will be pleasantly surprised if Luhnow spends the whole $20 million over the winter, but it would make my day if he DID!
    By the way……wasn’t the meaning of “the process” to sign a guy for a year, until
    one of the guys at AAA is ready to join the big club???

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    • Victor Martinez is the possible AL MVP. He will cost MUCH more than 12 mil a year, for more years than he is worth. Someone like the Yankees or Mets, or even the Tigers, are going to overpay in years for him to get the next 2-3 good ones.

      The Astros are not a team in position, financially or ability wise, to be in the VMart market.

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  5. Should the Astros venture into the world of 3-4 year (or even 5-year) contracts that approach $14-$15 million per season?
    I brought up Victor M. a long time ago and got dumped on – so I’m hurt hurt hurt. OK I’m tougher than that – but I think he would be a great fit because he would not want the 5 year contract. On the other hand he is more likely to want to play for a team that can win it now (though I’m sure he thought that was Detroit).

    Estimate the extensions that Keuchel and Springer should receive this winter.
    Keuchel arb years are 2016-2019. So if you sign him for 5 years you buy out that plus one FA year – so it would have to be relatively big money – $20 million back loaded?
    Springer is not that likely to agree – his arb years are 2017-2019. What if you went 5 years $30 million? Heck I don’t know at all.
    Simple question: If Albers is healthy this winter should the Astros pick up his option?
    How about you buy him out $200,000 and then try to sign him for $2 million?
    Despite your opinion, will the Astros pick up the option? No
    Jose Veras will be a free agent and could factor into the 2015 bullpen equation. Do you offer a one or two year deal? For how much? One year 2.5 million
    The Astros added about $20 million to payroll this season and Crane suggests upping the ante another $20 million this winter. Using that as a guide, the Astros could have a $90+ million payroll in 2016. Your thoughts?
    About time

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      • I think you can. What happens if we buy him out and our $2M offer is the best offer? The MLBPA wants the player to get the highest possible contract so I doubt they would have not allowed this in the last CBA negotiation.

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      • When you buy a guy out, he becomes a free agent, free to sign with any team, including the one that bought him out.

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    • I’m really torn on the Fowler question – that is a lot to pay him – but you have so few solid major league bats it is hard to walk away from that. I think if you have decent options develop during the year for the OF you might look at a trade deadline deal.

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      • I’m with you. Last off season I complained about the trade because of the $$$. The problem is, let’s say he gets $10m for 2015…where can you better use that money to help the offense? There were only 14 player in the league with a higher OBP last year than his .375. FWIW, two of them were Altuve and VMart.

        If we lose Fowler, it gives financial flexibility to chase no one in particular. The payroll is low and we don’t need relief. If I’m Luhnow, I keep Fowler, make a run at VMart, make an overture to Lester (without being too enthusiastic…just test the waters), and call Boston about Will Middlebrooks, who is 26 but had bad 2013 and 2014 seasons. I’d really like a LHH 3B option, but anyone (relatively) cheap with upside to compete with Dominguez is needed in my book. Failing that, start preparing Marwin for increased starts at 3B.

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      • Dan, I think if you knew that he’d play 150+ games, it wouldn’t be as big a question… But the fact is, he played in only 116 this season, 119 in 2013 and only 143 in 2012 (the most he’s ever played in!). So…there is a risk to tie up that kind of money…

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      • Good point Chip – it is the quandry about Fowler – he is not worth the bucks – but can you get someone who is

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    • Dan – neither of us are in his head – but I assure you his agent WILL be asking for the 5-6 year deal. He may not get it anywhere, but it will be the agents start point.

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    • I’m also sure that part of Veras’ release was the buyout of the contract, so there is no activating the option, it’s already been bought out.

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  6. Man VMart/ Altuve there is an Astro God, but don’t see it happening. I think most of the stellar FA’s want to be in the playoffs now not later, and Crane isn’t tying up the cash.

    I think they spend on a couple BP arms. I really don’t want to see Singleton or Matty D opening day, but don’t know what Lunhole will do there I did read they really like what they are seeing in Moran in Florida Instructional.

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  7. A few thoughts on your thoughts:
    * On Albers, I think it simply comes down to 2 things: 1) Is he healthy and can he perform for a full season. 2) Do the Astros want him around? If both answers are “yes”, they simply pick up the option and move on. We’re talking a few hundred thousand is they spend $$$ on the option, then sign him for $2 million.
    * On VMart. Let’s see where the market goes. I also believe fans will be able to see the level of commitment this off-season. Houston has been rumored to be in contention for previous players, but has come away empty each time. Making a big splash with a VMart or Lester or another high profile player would not only put the Astros on the map, but also prove to other players how serious the organization is. It only takes one.
    * One of my biggest concerns: Can Luhnow make the transition mentally from rebuilding the farm system to acquiring major league-ready talent. For example, can he let go of that #32 pick in order to sign a VMart or possibly a Nelson Cruz if they are offered and turn down QOs?
    * Last thought: I believe Singleton will one day be a bonafide, above average starter, but the time has passed for waiting on prospects to gel. Not necessarily looking for playoffs in 2015, but, indeed, Mr. Clemens, it’s time to win some games.

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  8. I am not a fan at all of multiyear free agent contracts with high profile players like V-Mart. I am still spitting up blood from the crazy contracts the former owner signed with guys like Woody Williams, Carlos Lee, etc. Let’s see – my risk benefit analysis indicates: 1. you lose a supplemental draft pick, 2. you spend absolutely outrageous money [that increases ticket and merchandise prices], and 3. 80% of the time what you get for it is some cocky player with a bad attitude, who is injury prone, gives you lackadaisical performance, and mucks up your clubhouse with everything from tobacco spit to PED scandal. Even if by some miracle you get someone relatively young and by some greater miracle they perform up to their billing when they put on your uniform, the reality is that their money-sucking agents make darn sure you lose them to the perpetually higher bidders in the league [Yankees, Angels] the next time free agency comes around.

    As much as I would love a quick fix, there are no guarantees. The best bet is to draft ’em, sign ’em, grow ’em and/or trade for ’em.

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    • If you signed a V Mart for his 35-37 years which would be through 2017 and rich guys want to steal him away for his year 38 seasons and beyond, let them. Your prospects are all ready by then.
      In the meantime, you have a DH for three years who chased Altuve all season for the batting title and couldn’t catch him, but doesn’t strike out at all and walks a ton. And he’s hitting behind the guy he couldn’t catch. Suddenly you go from a team who didn’t hit well to a team that has two of the top hitters in the league batting in the 2 and 3 hole and your OBP leader, Fowler, back in his best spot, leading off.
      Say what you want about Springer striking out a bunch, but, including 2014 in the majors, he is a huge RBI guy, even though he has mostly hit third in the order. Put those three guys in the batting order in front of Springer and you have a potential RBI league leader hitting cleanup.
      Maybe you overpay a little for V Mart, but he is what you have been looking for as a DH since we came to the AL and why not try to convince him to retire as a member of the 2017 World Series Champion Astros.

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      • Obviously, OP1, I would love to have the 2014 V-Mart for 2 years, at a reasonable sum. Him between Altuve and a healthy [we hope] Springer? Drool. So If we could do/guarantee that, I’d say pull the trigger in a minute. Hey, it’s not my money anyway. But the problem is that 2014 is over and what we are talking about is 2015 and beyond now. I have perused V-Mart’s career stats. His 2014 stats look a WHOLE, WHOLE lot better than his 2013 stats [with the same team]. Looking a little farther back, while he’s had some really good years [not anywhere near as good as 2014], but he’s been all over the place statistically through the years. To say he is due for a significant regression from 2014 seems like a no-brainer to me. And to sign him now, after he just completed that once-in-a-career year – well, that’s the epitome of buying high.

        But if Crane/Luhnow want to make a splash in the FA market, there are certainly a lot worse options! And maybe somebody wants to take a flyer on the Chris Carter high-risk high reward bus, and will give us a AAAA third bagger or shortstop for him

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      • V Mart will be 36 before opening day.

        He isn’t coming to Houston for less than 18-20 mil a year, as he will get that same offer from Detroit and NY, and probably for more years than we would be willing to suffer through.

        Overpaying a little to get him is the understatement of the month. You will overpay tremendously. He is the best hitter in the league right now, but will he be the best hitter in the league in 2018 and 2019 when you are paying him 20 mil a year – yes it will take that to get him here.

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      • Small clarification. VMart was out all of 2012 with I believe a torn ACL. He was slow to recover in 2013 – .237 average at the All Star Break – but lights out in the second half. His major breakout in 2014 was power; he’s widely quoted in the Detroit papers that he never expected to hit 30 HR’s in his career. Geez, hope this power improvement isn’t the result of you-know-what’s.

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      • Altuve’s stats look a whole lot better in 2014 than they did in 2013. Is anybody worried his bat will crater? Even if V Mart’s avg drops 30 points he is still a .300 hitter who walks and doesn’t strike out.

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  9. Mr. Bill, I’m with you on those 7, 8, 9 year deals and the Carlos Lee contract. The Woody Williams deal was only two years, $12.5 million, so it wasn’t outlandish in and of itself. Now, for a 39-year-old, perhaps it wasn’t wise.

    VMart has said he’d like to play 3 more years, so a 3 year deal for even $50 million might not be crazy stupid…if, he’d take that.

    But to the premise of your comment, I’d be very leery of those longer deals that tie the hands of the GM and the organization down the road.

    In this instance, however, it’s more than just a quick fix IMO. Crane and Luhnow need to make some type of splash to get the attention of Houston fans and to start to win them back. Feldman was a small move last winter. VMart — or someone in his category — would go a lot further.

    One other thought: At this moment, VMart or even Cruz wouldn’t be blocking anyone since no one is knocking down the door!

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    • None of this is a big surprise. Considering Albers missed about 90% of the season I wouldn’t have expected them to pick up his option. I wouldn’t be surprised if they re-sign him on an incentive laden deal.

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  10. The Astros just declined the option on Albers (which means they did the buyout) and outrighted Guzman and Owens off the 40 man roster.

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  11. Since Albers was on the 60 day dl (not counted against the 40 man roster) – the Astros now have 38 on the 40 man roster plus Jesse Crain, Josh Zeid and Jose Cisnero (the killer J’s??) on the 60 day dl.

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      • OP, I’ve seen multiple numbers regarding the 40-man. Crazy. Right now, I count 41 on the roster. Deleon, Guzman and Owens have been removed. If you take off Albers, that leaves 40 if you consider the three still on the 60-day DL. Or you can look at it like this: The team has 37, plus the 3 players on the 60-day, which wouldn’t count against the roster during the regular season.

        Soon, the guys will have to come off the 60-day, though.

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  12. Letting Deleon, Albers, Guzman and Owens walk are the right moves. They have got to get some of those arms in CC moved up to Fresno and give all their pitching prospects a chance to pitch decent innings. Good moves for Luhnow. Lets keep it rolling.

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  13. Appel was the starting pitcher in AFL last night. Double and a walk off of him in the first but got out of it without a run. Hit a batter in the third but finished three innings w/ no runs 1 hit 1 walk and 2 Ks. He said he felt great, but a little rusty in the first inning after not pitching in a game for over a month.

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  14. Mallee joins the Cubs saying it is the first time in 20 years he will be with his family during the season. He lives there and is from there.

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    • Class guy, happy he is getting to coach from his doorstep. As a guy that makes a living moving city to city every few years, it’s not fun.

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  15. MLB Trade Rumors came out with their arb estimates for the Astros today:

    Fowler $9 million
    Castro $3.9 million
    Carter $3.5 million

    They are usually pretty accurate

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    • Perhaps, but Fowler made about $8 million this year, so doubtful if he only gets to $9 million. We’ll bookmark it and see. If the Astros bring him back, I’d bet it’s a 2-year deal to buy out his last arb year and his first free agent season. 2 years at $20-23 million would probably get it done.

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