2013 Contract Issues: Houston Astros

The Astros are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (2)

  • Carlos Lee – Lee appears to want to stay in Houston and the Astros will need a designated hitter next year when they move to the American League West. If he's willing to re-sign for a tenth of his 2012 salary ($18MM) maybe the Astros will be interested.
  • Brandon Lyon – Lyon's hot start makes him a midseason trade candidate who could be gone before the offseason begins. Neither Lyon nor Lee should expect a qualifying offer from Houston next offseason.

Contract Options (2)

  • Brett Myers: $10MM club option with a $3MM buyout. Option vests with approximately 55 games finished. A $7MM net cost might be a luxury for a rebuilding team, even though Myers could probably help Houston in 2013. He's another midseason trade candidate to keep an eye on.
  • Chris Snyder: $4MM mutual option with a $500K buyout. Mutual options are rarely exercised by both sides. They sometimes exist to defer salary from one season to the next. 

Arbitration Eligible (7)

The Astros will face a relatively affordable class of arbitration eligible players. Happ ($2.35MM in '12), Lowrie ($1.15MM) and Buck ($580K) will obtain raises but will remain affordable. Lopez and Wright, two non-closing relievers, both figure to cost the Astros $1MM or so next year. I think Norris could earn $3.5-4MM via arbitration as a first-time eligible player if his strong season continues. There's a good chance the Astros' eligible players will return for a total of $15MM or less in 2013.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Astros are spending approximately $61MM on payroll in 2012, their first season under owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow. They only have $17MM in commitments for 2013, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Expect Luhnow to have more payroll flexibility than he did last offseason when he transitions the team to the American League next winter.

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7 Comments on "2013 Contract Issues: Houston Astros"

3 years 3 months ago

It’s funny that the oldest and most out of shape guy actually stayed reasonably productive throughout the length of his contract, Lee, meanwhile guys like Soriano and Wells are completely useless, and Werth and Crawford are making teams regret their deals one year in. Baseball is a funny game sometimes. 

3 years 3 months ago

It can be freaking hilarious. You didn’t include the Angels more recent signings. Maybe they aren’t there yet but Regretsville is ahead on the roadmap. So much of this game is luck, good and bad. Maybe that’s why the players are so superstitious.

Kyle MacGregor
3 years 3 months ago

I think the entertainment value of watching El Caballo get on his horse and leg out a triple is worth $18MM. Took a little more out of him than the usual sprint singles or trot around the basepaths. 

3 years 3 months ago

Houston fans would much rather see the declining Lee depart and sign Berkman as a free agent to be DH next year. Lee is still productive but not a middle of the order threat any longer.

3 years 3 months ago

Not only have the Astros only $17M in contract commitments, next year they have a cable deal with Comcast for an additional $30M in revenue (in adddition to this year).   So take the $61M payroll this year (which is by far the lowest it has been since the early 1990s for the Astros) and add $30M in revenue from the Comcast deal and this team can easily afford a $90M payroll.   But, the Astros are committed to youth, and Crane has said he wants to slowly build up the payroll to what it should be.    Agree that Berkman at $5-6M (if he will sign for that) would be better than Lee at $2-3M, but maybe they could use both, with Berkman at 1B and Lee at DH.    Jonathan Singleton, who is a minor league baseball top-50 1B prospect is in AA this year, and may not make it up to the bigs until Sep next year — he is doing well in AA but probably can use the extra time in AAA.     Plus, Berkman remains an Astro by all accounts even though he wears a Cardinals uniform — he has said as much.

3 years 3 months ago

still playin money ball, come on man

3 years 3 months ago

 That was a boner from the get go.. Jimmy Hendry even wouldn’t have given out that deal.. It must have been a Budweiser influenced debacle..