Astros owner Jim Crane said today that the organization is prepared to add significant payroll space for GM Jeff Luhnow to work with, as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports on Twitter. “We’ve got quite a bit of room if we need it,” he said. Houston had dramatically slashed its spending as part of its complete overhaul, but moved back over $70MM in Opening Day payroll last year, added salary via mid-season trades, and seems prepared for yet greater increases now that the club’s contention window has been thrown open. Then again, Luhnow himself has indicated that he does not see many areas of significant need entering the winter.
Here’s more from Houston and the rest of the AL West:
- Luhnow says that the Astros made a qualifying offer to outfielder Colby Rasmus in hopes that he’d accept it, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. “We obviously want to keep Colby,” he said. “So that’s the outcome that we’re hoping for.” That’s certainly interesting to hear, as it certainly would’ve been easy enough for Luhnow to answer the question diplomatically without stating so clearly that he has real interest in a reunion. (In many instances, of course, the qualifying offer is used simply as a tool to open the door to draft compensation.) Rasmus looks like a useful fit for Houston, but it had been presumed that the club would look elsewhere given the rising cost of the 29-year-old, especially after adding Carlos Gomez at the trade deadline. It’s not yet clear whether Rasmus will seriously entertain the offer, or whether the team will pursue Rasmus if he rejects it, but at a minimum it seems that the addition of a left-handed outfield bat of some kind would be of interest. Preston Tucker had a solid rookie effort last year, and might be the leading in-house option to take that role if Rasmus is not retained.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says that Jurickson Profar is expected to enter spring playing shortstop exclusively, as Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Though Profar has been serving as a DH in the Arizona Fall League, leaving it somewhat unclear what the future might hold as he works his way back from serious shoulder issues, Daniels struck an optimistic tone. Saying that Profar is “close to kind of having this thing in the rearview mirror,” the GM expressed confidence in the 22-year-old’s ability to return to full strength while also adding that the organization will continue to tread carefully in ramping up his activities (particularly in the field). The club will keep an open mind about Profar’s use next year, but he seems likely to begin the season at Triple-A.
- The Mariners have hired former big league manager Manny Acta as their third base coach, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. Acta ran the Indians and Nationals dugouts previously and has more recently served as an ESPN analyst.
I remember last offseason many pundits had the Astros getting in the mix for Scherzer, and Luhnow is insane if he thinks that adding one of the many aces on the market isn’t a “need” for them, he had Roberto Hernandez starting games for his team last year – that’s not a guy you want starting big games for you. The Cubs and Mets are loaded with SPs, Houston would be wise to follow suit and add a big name SP to the Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers mix. Plus there’s the old adage “You can never have enough pitching”.
Mets are loaded with starting pitching which is correct. My guess is they are keeping the fab 4. Wheeler might still be available but I think the mets want to see the 5 of them kick it into high gear. Cubs need starting pitching too.
The Cubs are not loaded with SP’s, in fact they are looking to add starting pitching.
Ha, you are right – in my head, they already have signed one of Price/Greinke et al to add to Arrieta and Lester – their front office has said repeatedly they are going after everyone to “load up” on SP’s, while that was a minor gaffe on my part, the sentiment remains the same regarding the Astros.
Now, where’s my coffee…
Price is not a forgone conclusion at all. Cubs have actually stated they’d prefer to acquire pitching via trade
Where? Never saw that one. But it’s not illogical to think Maddon+Cubs having too much money to spend = Price.
Luhnow is just playing it cool on the outside. But inside, thinking all the time.
They had Kaz and Fiers, with Kaz gone they need a 4-5 guy
I think the Pirates and Rangers should make a 1 for 1 trade. Gregory Polanco for Jurickson Profar straight up.
That would be an awful, awful trade for the Pirates until Profar proves he can be healthy and proves that he can still effectively play SS, two things that are still very much up in the air.
The Pirates are loaded with SS talent at every stop, Profar simply isn’t a fit there.
How about Plonco for Erica Aybar?
That is perhaps the worst prospected trade I might have ever heard.
Lol last week I saw Greg Bird and Aaron Judge for Matt Harvey. That was comical.
With Profar’s value at the lowest it will ever be, no way will it bring in Polanco right now. Pirates already have numerous SS options both prospect, young star and veteran, they are very poor matchup for a trade including Profar.
Luhnow’s daring Colby to take the QO. Now that he has draft pick compensation attached, no teams will want to touch him. He has no choice but to take the 1-yr deal, or make substantially less in a multi-year deal(which he has earned after a good year). Classy move Luhnow…
Are you suggesting that teams shouldn’t extend qualifying offers so that their players will be able to make more in free agency? Because that’s insane.
No I’m saying they shouldn’t abuse the QO system for what it wasn’t designed for. He’s “sneaking”a draft pick at Colby’s expense. Rasmus made $8mil last year. He’s now doubled in value? No, he hasn’t.
1-yr deals are understandable for an aged or injury-prone player. Colby is neither. Where’s the job security for a player in their prime? What message does this send to other free agents with interest in Houston? Big picture, my friend.
If Rasmus’ value hasn’t doubled but Lunhow is willing to double his salary, it seems like a pretty good deal for Colby, no?
Yes. And Colby forfeits the security of a multi-year deal. AND no one has ever accepted a qualifying offer since it was started. He absolutely should take it, just to stick it to the man!
What will happen in reality though is his agent will advise against it(status quo), and he will be low-balled $2-3MM/yr in a potential multi-year deal due to that smelly draft pick attached to him.
Curious Luhnow would route for the QO to be accepted, when you look at the percentage of their 2016 payroll dedicated to a mid-tier outfielder for one year? That smells fishy.
$2-$3M a year? You are dreaming dude. He will get far more than that. More than likely $10-$11M a year. There are already teams who are rumored to be interested in him at that value for 3-4 years.
I didn’t say he would get 2-3 mil, rather he would be low-balled by that amount per year, AAV. This is basic math dude.
Look at Michael Cuddyer last year. Had a great year, got a qualifying offer of $15.3M, rejected it, then signed a two year $21M contract on the first day of the Winter Meetings. He was in much the same position as Colby. You saying that he is going to be low balled at $2-$3M a year is comical.
He was clearly only in CO to rejuvenate his career, then bolt. The Rockies knew that, so in that instance, the feeling was mutual and the QO was in order.
Cuddyer is a poor corner outfielder… Rasmus plays all outfield positions at a high level.
Exactly stl_cards16. The job security is that he can make $15.8M next year alone if he decides to sign on the dotted line. That’s pretty solid. I’d like some of that security. It’s actually a pretty big gamble by Luhnow to extend that deal to him. If he isn’t worth that as you said then it gives Rasmus a good option of making solid money this year or taking a risk and going for a larger sum, but smaller average annual value on a long term deal.
Rasmus is still a center fielder and played really really well this season. He also proved he can play a corner at a ++ level. Baltimore has got to be interested with the power they are going to lose with Davis.
Are you a Cardinals fan slamming the Astros for having no class? I tend to remember the Cardinals hacking the Astros database and leaking the information in an attempt to humiliate Luhnow and the Astros. That leaves lack of class in the rearview mirror. That’s what law enforcement calls a federal crime. Yeah but lets bash Luhnow for giving Colby the option of making $15.8M next year.
I’m bashing him for pulling bait n’ switch on someone who played under him for two organizations. One rogue employee makes entire organization shady…yeah, makes sense.
Do you really believe that that guy did all of that stuff in a house where multiple Cards employees lived and nobody else knew? You’re quite naive.
Research the term “hacking”. His old password was used to gain “unauthorized access”. If my Grandma can log in to the database, it’s not quite hacking. Let’s not play the victim too strongly here?
Can anyone tell me if the mariners hiring manny acta as our third base coach is a good thing or not?
Daniels is really pumping up that Profar trade value. Keep him at SS, its where the value is… You forget he is still just 22. Hes raking again and you have to expect him to still be a star.
I think Rasmus should accept the QO. Sure there is no multi year security, but $15.8 Mill is a nice payday for 1 year. If he has a good year he will make more next year and if he has an average year he won’t get offered another QO and will be free to sign anywhere without draft pick hanging over his head.
Just think about last off-season, he had to settle for a 1 year 8 mill deal without draft compensation hanging over his head.