There was a little discussion about the 2019 salaries in the previous blog, which just happened to coincide with something that your faithful servant was researching at the time. Back in July, we visited the subject in a three-part series looking at the roster construction from 2019 to 2021.
The 2019 review looked like this – https://chipalatta.com/2018/07/05/future-astros-three-year-look-ahead-part-1-2019/
A few things have changed, but the basics are as follows:
POSITION Player 2019 Salary
1B YULI GURRIEL $10.4 MM
2B JOSE ALTUVE $9.5 MM
SS CARLOS CORREA (ARB) $5.1 MM – EST
3B ALEX BREGMAN $2 MM – EST
C TBD TBD
DH TYLER WHITE $600 K
OF TBD TBD
OF GEORGE SPRINGER $12 MM
OF JOSH REDDICK $13 MM
BENCH TBD TBD
BENCH TONY KEMP $560 K
BACKUP C TBD TBD
SP JUSTIN VERLANDER $20 MM
SP GERRIT COLE (ARB) $13.1 MM – EST
SP TBD TBD
SP TBD TBD
SP COLLIN MCHUGH (ARB) $5.4 MM -EST
RP HECTOR RONDON $4.5 MM
RP CHRIS DEVENSKI (ARB) $1.4 MM – EST
RP ROBERTO OSUNA (ARB) $6.5 MM – EST
RP JOE SMITH $8 MM
RP RYAN PRESSLY $3.1 MM – EST
RP BRAD PEACOCK (ARB) $2.9 MM – EST
RP TBD TBD
RP TBD TBD
MISC. LANCE MCCULLERS $4.6 MM – EST
Note – under this scenario, it is assumed that certain folks are gone through free agency (Marwin Gonzalez, Evan Gattis, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Brian McCann and Tony Sipp, Martin Maldonado) or won’t be pursued in arbitration (Jake Marisnick, Will Harris).
So, what are we looking at….
- Sure fire money owed unless a player is traded is ~$78 million for Verlander, Springer, Reddick, Gurriel, Altuve, Smith and Rondon.
- Money estimated (by mlbtraderumors.com) for arbitration is ~$42 million for Cole, Osuna, McHugh, Correa, Pressly, Peacock, Devenski and which includes a guesstimated $4.6 million for Lance McCullers not to pitch.
- There is about $3 million estimated total for Bregman, White and Kemp.
So, covering 17 of the 25 spots costs a total of $123 million. The Astros payroll in 2018 came in at around $163 million, so there is some money to play with here, whether we assume it is the same payroll or a bit more.
Let’s look at three options to fill out the 25 man……
“The Po’Boy” roster
The low end choices could include the following folks already on the roster or easily added to it.
- 2 Catchers. Garrett Stubbs and Max Stassi would cost about a $1 million total. If you used recently picked up Chris Hermann as a backup this would go to about $2 million.
- Left field. Throw about $600K at young Kyle Tucker and don’t look back
- Bench. Pickup Jake Marisnick in arbitration for about $2.4 million
- 2 Starting Pitchers. From Josh James, Framber Valdez, and Cionel Perez, fill out your rotation for about $1 million.
- 2 Relief Pitchers. Whoever is not in the rotation from James, Valdez and Perez, put them in the bullpen. Add in Dean Deetz and you just filled the spots for about $1 million total or pick up Will Harris in arbitration and fill the two spots for about $4 million.
Po’Boy total – about $129 to 133 million
The “It’s Not My Money” Roster
The high-end choices look a lot different:
- Go trade for J.T. Realmuto (projected $6.1 million). But the arbitration is not the big cost or sign a free agent like Yasmani Grandal for about $14 million a year
- Another catcher will be cheap (Stubbs, Stassi, Hermann)
- Left Field. Go get Bryce Harper for $30+ million for the rest of our lives
- DH/Bench. Move Tyler White to the bench as you sign free agent Nelson Cruz (estimated $18 million) as your new DH
- Starting pitchers. Go get James Paxton (projected $9 million) and Corey Kluber (Under contract $17 million)
- Relief pitchers. Sign free agents Craig Kimbrel ($16 million) and Zach Britton (Let’s guess $12 million after his injuries and recovery)
“It’s Not My Money” Total – 25 man roster for a mere…..$231 to $239 million
“Back to Reality” Roster
The Astros are more likely to end up as follows:
- Catcher. They will trade for J.T. Realmuto (projected $6.1 million) or sign a free agent like Yasmani Grandal for about $14 million a year and back him up with the cheaper option
- Left field. I think they give the “Kid” Kyle Tucker a shot at this spot
- Bench. There were a bunch of DH/corner IF or OF bats available late in the last spring training and don’t be surprised if the Astros chase one for $7 to 10 million for 2019
- Starting Pitchers. The Astros will fill one of the spots with a youngster and pursue their next Charlie Morton out there. Maybe a Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman or Robbie Ray. So let’s say $12 million or so
- Relief Pitchers. The Astros will fill one spot with a youngster and may try to re-sign a Will Harris through arbitration at $3.5 million or so.
“Back to Reality” Total: $163 to $175 million range
This is total speculation at this point, but that is the essence of hot-stove league talk.
Which of these paths do you think the Astros will take and who do you think they will pursue?