- The Astros’ 2015 payroll still projects to be in the $70MM range, explains Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The team has about $17.7MM committed for 2015 for four players, plus around $21MM for their seven essential arbitration eligible players, a few of whom could be traded. It’s easy to see that this team has some money to spend.
- Drellich says “there’s little expectation the Astros would add a player who received a qualifying offer,” but admits that the team will be more open to giving up a draft pick this winter. “We have two protected picks. So a qualifying offer is not necessarily an impediment to how we would behave compared to a team that had a pick that was their only pick, and that was No. 13 or 15 or something like that. So we have that advantage,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. The Astros would give up the competitive balance round pick they acquired from the Marlins in the summer if they sign one of the 11 qualified free agents. The Astros were linked to Hanley Ramirez earlier today.
- Outfielder Engel Beltre has elected free agency after refusing an outright assignment to Triple-A from the Rangers, writes Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com. GM Jon Daniels said, “He’s exploring other options. We are as well. We haven’t closed the door. We haven’t made him an offer at this point.” Beltre, who missed the entire 2014 season with a fractured tibia, was a key piece of the Rangers’ return from the Red Sox for Eric Gagne at the 2007 trade deadline.