Astros Notes: Crawford, Offseason Needs, Payroll

The Rangers might be in the heat of the ALCS, but let's not forget about the Lone Star State's other pro baseball team.  Here are a few pieces of Astros news from the team's senior director of digital media, Alyson Footer…

  • While Carl Crawford is a Houston native and a childhood friend of Astros outfielder Michael Bourn, Footer says the odds are "slim to none" of the Astros pursuing the free agent this winter.  Crawford would absorb a quarter of Houston's payroll, and would cost the rebuilding team a draft pick (though not its 11th-overall first-round pick, which is protected).
  • The team may consider changes at second base and shortstop.  Jeff Keppinger is a safe bet to start at second next year, but neither Tommy Manzella or Angel Sanchez are settled at short.  Footer says the Astros will be looking for a utility infielder.
  • Other needs are a fifth starter and a left-handed hitting platoon partner for Jason Michaels in left field.
  • Footer says the payroll will be "somewhat lower than the $93 million it was when the season started, and higher than the $50-some million it was when the season ended."  According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Houston has a bit more than $41MM committed to next year's payroll, but that's not counting arbitration raises for Bourn, Hunter Pence or Wandy Rodriguez, among others.  Given that Houston finally seems to be committed to a youth movement, it's hard to see next year's payroll topping $80MM at the most.


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19 Comments on "Astros Notes: Crawford, Offseason Needs, Payroll"


Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

I think the Astros may be a dark horse to win the Central next season. They were one of the best second half teams and could be next years Padres but actually not break down.

Maybe Alex Gonzalez would be a good fit. They have some really good prospects coming up it’s going to be exciting. I love the Astros.

4 years 9 months ago

I know how unlikely it is for the Astros to sign Carl Crawford but he would be a big boost to the city and the young players in the club house taking a lot of pressure of them. With the new guys in the front office, the Astros hold on to their picks with dear life unlike years ago we would always give them away or lose them. I believe the Astros will take that next step if Carlos Lee play to his capabilities, and the pitching stays somewhat consistent all year.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

I agree with you and disagree with Footer which is something that I usually don’t do — I really like Allyson Footer…But I disagree with her.

There has to be some type of mutual interest. I say they have a 30% chance of getting him.

4 years 9 months ago

Absolutely no reason to sign Carl Crawford. The Astros realize this too. Chance of signing Crawford is 2%. OF is the only position in the minors where there is a hint of depth. Spend the money on draft picks and pitching….a SS with a little power wouldn’t hurt too

Backup_Slider
4 years 9 months ago

What the Astros really need in left field is a left-handed (or switch-hitting) version of Jayson Werth, a guy who hits homers and walks and can run a little. Who that guy is and when they’d be able to get him is a mystery – I’m not even sure that guy exists these days.

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

Shin-soo Choo and “probably never.” Lefty, good defense with a strong arm, batted .300 with a .401 OBP, 22 HR and 22 SB in 2010. Probably better suited to right than left because of it, but he can play left.

The_Porcupine
4 years 9 months ago

As much as I like Crawford and think he’d be a force in Minute Maid and the National League in general, I think signing him is a mistake. The money he will get will not match the run production he will provide. His contract is destined to be an albatross in a few years when his legs start to go.

I also think penciling in Keppinger as the starting 2b is premature. He’s a good player, but not starter level. He should be the back up plan. I think middle infield is the only place where teh Astros can upgrade. Lee, Bourn, Pence, Johnson, Wallace, and Castro already have everyday jobs. I’d like to see a rh-platoon 1b signed (or a rh-platoon OF with Lee shifting to first against LH pitchers), a new second basemen, and a new ss.

I’d consider signing Nady, Hardy, and Uribe for those 3 positions. Let Hardy, Uribe, and Keppinger take equal time at the middle infield spots. I’d also look at Jose Lopez if I felt I could deal with his defense at 2b (he can’t possibly be as bad as he was last year). In other words, find some guys capable of being a moderate run producer (Hardy, Uribe, J. Lopez, Nady all have demonstrated ability to hit for moderate power and drive in some runs). I also wouldn’t mind a more offensive minded catcher to backup Castro.

4 years 9 months ago

I mostly agree, but on one aspect, I think Kepp is a solid everyday second baseman. He’s never gotten an opportunity to play everyday, but look what he did with it this year. Are there better options? Probably. Should replacing him be a priority? Absolutely not.

I do like Uribe as he an play all over the left side of the infield. I say make him SS and leave Kepp at second, Let CJ develop, Leave Q behind Castro because he’s solid, even if he’s not a hitting catcher, and while I think Castro has a huge upside, Q is a better choice, really. There’s a long road between potential and performance for Castro. Platoon Carlos and Wallace until Wallace gets his swing shipped to him from the Minors, they lost it in customs I guess.

We need a #5 for the rotation a SS, and a LF. Everyone else is what we had for the second half, and that was a great second half excluding the last 2 weeks. To say they won’t perform again is short sighted. There’s no reason to think they won’t.

4 years 9 months ago

I mostly agree, but on one aspect, I think Kepp is a solid everyday second baseman. He’s never gotten an opportunity to play everyday, but look what he did with it this year. Are there better options? Probably. Should replacing him be a priority? Absolutely not.

I do like Uribe as he an play all over the left side of the infield. I say make him SS and leave Kepp at second, Let CJ develop, Leave Q behind Castro because he’s solid, even if he’s not a hitting catcher, and while I think Castro has a huge upside, Q is a better choice, really. There’s a long road between potential and performance for Castro. Platoon Carlos and Wallace until Wallace gets his swing shipped to him from the Minors, they lost it in customs I guess.

We need a #5 for the rotation a SS, and a LF. Everyone else is what we had for the second half, and that was a great second half excluding the last 2 weeks. To say they won’t perform again is short sighted. There’s no reason to think they won’t.

davengmusic
4 years 9 months ago

i’m going to say this right now: chris johnson at 3B is going to be GARBAGE. dude never walks (15 in 360+ ABs), and the guy has brick hands defensively (18 E in 90 games). he’d have to hit .300 every year to have an acceptable OBP, and he’s too streaky to do that. unless he’s hitting 30-40 HRs a year, he’s a liability to the team. the astros basically have 3 1Bs or a 1B and two DHs (brett wallace, carlos lee, c.johnson) playing the field. crawford’s free agency and keppinger at 2B is the least of houston’s worries.

4 years 9 months ago

Disagree. CJ wasn’t a defensive force, sure, but .300 probably isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and yeah, he doesn’t walk much, but he’s spent half a year in the majors facing a high caliber opponent. If he comes back next year and does the exact same thing he still won’t be the worst thing playing third in either league.

I expect he’ll come back a much more solid defensive player, a lot of those errors were made right after his call up, and a more consistent offensive player. He’s also got power. He’s gonna be another Pence, and that’s not a bad thing. Everyone wants to talk about letting guys mature and stuff, not rushing them, but when we do get a young guy up if he’s not Mick or Babe, we crucify him.

davengmusic
4 years 9 months ago

CJ was lined up to start this year, but we went out and got pedro feliz anyway. it wasn’t because CJ wasn’t ready offensively or defensively. it was because CJ is the anti-pence. he’ll put up some numbers, but his work ethic is junk, and that’s why he didn’t start the year with the club (sans teammate injury). i watched him for a year in round rock, and the guy carried himself around with a sense of entitlement. he’d grab his crotch and cuss out fans that got onto him about hustle (it was pretty clear he was just waiting for his time to get called up anyway). you can see pence hustle during a game. unless he completely turns the corner, which i doubt at this age, you won’t get that kind of hustle from chris johnson. if feliz hadn’t fallen on his face so unbelievably, cj wouldn’t have been called up so early. ed wade sees that, and when cj starts putting up 2010 carlos lee numbers and keeps giving away runs, he’ll be platooning or back on the bench. he’s basically mike lamb with lousy work ethic.

i hope i’m wrong for houston’s sake, but i’ve seen enough of the guy to know what’s going on.

4 years 9 months ago

CJ started the year in the bigs and split time with Feliz until CJ got hurt he wasnt called up because Feliz was terrible. They got Feliz because CJ was a rookie with no time in the majors, you dont go into a season with a rookie start without a back up plan. The CJ you talk about has not been seen in the majors, no bad attitude, seems to work hard, his defense improved towards the end of the season. You are either making up stories or you are just a negative person.

4 years 9 months ago

Have to agree with Brian. If CJ was, in fact, the jerk you describe, then he’s guilty of being a young kid. Lots of guys get ahead of themselves with a little taste of success, but since getting the permanent call he’s showed a lot of desire to improve and an ability to fit in with the clubhouse. That’s important. Look at Manny. Teams will keep asking for him at the trade deadline because the man can hit, but even if he was 28 years old instead of nearly as old as baseball they wouldn’t want him on a long term deal in their clubhouse. I admire him for what he does, but really. CJ on the other hand really puts it all out there for the fans, at least it seems so.

saxophone
4 years 8 months ago

heres what they do trade lee for cash and sign crawford and the team will be so much better. than they sign webb,young,pavano, or westbrook and the team will be so much better. if they have 1 of those 4 with myers,rodriguez,happ,noris and we will have the fastest outfileders with crawford,bourn, and pence in the outfield

4 years 9 months ago

It should if they’re rebuilding.

joshuap
4 years 9 months ago

Not really, if you read the post they’re saying that draft pick + 1/4 of the team’s payroll > Carl Crawford. It’s actually good math, considering Carl can’t ALSO pitch, play 2B and SS and also platoon with Michaels. Limited resources dude, Crawford doesn’t make sense for this team right now.

joshuap
4 years 9 months ago

You completley ignored the payroll element to support the ridiculous statement that the club values a high draft pick over Carl Crawford. Now, you’ve moved from selective reading to complete fabrication in order to make your point. Nobody is saying that the Astros “couldnt sign him if they really wanted to”. They’ll have money, but they’re choosing to use it more wisely, despite the short-sighted demands of a large portion of the fanbase.

This really is THAT simple. The team is rebuilding and while they likely have the resources to at least pursue Crawford, it does not mean that they should do it.

And to answer your original question, yes – I do love that.

4 years 9 months ago

What they are paying Carlos Lee is the problem and what the Astros are hoping to avoid in the future. Crawford wants a 6-7 year deal and the Astros would have to outbid the Yankees and Red Sox for his services so they’d be paying huge long-term salary for a guy who probably won’t be worth it on the back end of the deal.

Look at Carlos Beltran. The Mets actually did the Astros a favor way back when by signing Beltran out from under the Astros because, while Beltran was worth his contract in 2005-2007, he has been a waste of money since then but is still getting paid like a superstar. That’s what the Astros don’t want to commit to going forward and if it means they miss out on someone like Crawford, that’s a decision they’re prepared to live with.