Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Astros owner Crane more willing to spend
By Doug Mittler
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggert Monday his franchise will be in position to increase payroll next season.
Crane is hardly going out on a limb here. The Astros finished the season with a payroll of about $13 million after parting ways with veterans Bud Norris, Jose Veras and Carlos Pena. Crane essentially got what he paid for as the team lost its final 15 games of the season to finish with 111 defeats.
ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney last week questioned MLB’s system that essentially awarded the Astros for “calculated failure.” The club hopes to show progress in two or three years, when the players selected with all of those stockpiled draft picks reach the major leagues.
A glimpse could come in 2014 when outfielder George Springer, who had a solid year at Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City, is expected to make it to the majors.
Exactly how that extra payroll will be spent in 2014 remains to be seen, but the club could look to add a veterans or two on one-year deals, similar to what they did with Pena last winter. We still don't see the Astros ready to give out any multi-year deals in the $20 million range.
Crane is smart to open the purse strings, at least a little. Building for the future is one thing, but attendance was around 1.6 million for the second straight season and the appetite for 100-loss seasons is wearing thin.