Astros owner Jim Crane had previously indicated that the club’s payroll could go up in 2014 and this week said that the payroll could climb as high as $50-60MM in 2014, regardless of how their lawsuit with Houston Regional Sports Network over their TV contract plays out, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Although Crane says the team could go “a little bit deeper,” no one should expect Houston to go after the top tier guys on the open market.
“We’re not going to make a move unless it fits into the plan, and we’re not going to rush the plan. [General Manager Jeff Luhnow has] a very systematic formula and we do have some good players coming up. […] This team [can get] pretty competitive pretty quickly with the starting pitching we’ve got.” Crane said.
The Astros will likely be in the market for late-inning relief help, an outfielder with a big bat, and a veteran starting pitcher in place of free agent Erik Bedard. While a $60MM payroll would still place them among the lowest in the league, it would be a marked improvement over their 2013 Opening Day figure of $26.1MM.
Source: Zach Links MLB Trade Rumors