The financial decisions the Astros are facing have been coming for years. Blog founder Chip Bailey has hit on this theme a number of times, including this mid-2017 post….
With the team up against the luxury tax limit, there are a number of personnel decisions that could be nominated for the toughest the team faces. But here are a few possibilities:
- Say “the heck with the tax” and re-sign Gerrit Cole. Yes, this would be a step the team has not taken under the current regime. The longest-term commitment they have made to a non-arb or non-pre-arb pitcher was the two year extension Verlander signed with one year to go on his contract. The contract cost would put them over the tax line, and in addition, they would be looking at a 7 or 8-year commitment to Cole.
- Cut the cord with Carlos Correa. They could do nothing and control Correa for the next two seasons through arbitration before he is a free agent heading into the 2022 season. They could try to extend him right now when his worth, dampened by a lot of missed time the last three seasons (109, 110 and 75 games played) might be at its most reasonable. Or they could turn to other teams and dangle a 25 y.o. SS, who was Rookie of the Year, an All Star in their WS season and was headed towards the All Star game when his injuries curtailed him in 2019. Could they get a solid, controllable starting pitcher and a prospect or two for Correa?
- Figure out what to do about George Springer. They have gotten Springer to accept a two-year contract to buy out a couple arbitration years. It is a good bet they tried to get him to accept a contract that would have also bought out a couple of free agent seasons too. Is there any chance of extending him this offseason, when he is one season away from free agency? Does he hold anything against the Astros for holding him in the minors for a year or more longer than they should have (based on performance)? He is the heart and soul of the team it would seem along with Jose Altuve. He is one of the most key components to the offense as the most deadly lead-off man in the game. He is coming off his best, though abbreviated, season putting up great full season numbers (96 runs, 39 HRs, 96 RBIs) in only 122 games. He has consistently missed games throughout his career, playing only 140, 140 and 122 the last three seasons and 102 in 2015. Are they going to give him a long, huge contract now when there is no competition or wait until next off-season when they will be competing against the world?
- Which is the toughest personnel decision facing the team of these three?
- How would you address these three situations?
- Is there a tougher personnel decision not mentioned here?
- How does the cloud over the team affect their ability to address these types of situations?