Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hail Houston! Now let the decline begin!

At one point during last night's sadly anticlimactic seventh game, the Fox sportsaganda machine praised the Houston Astros' front office in a series of flashy graphics to show how it assembled the 2017 team. Much of the lineup came from high first-round draft picks, testimony to nine straight years of Houston missing the playoffs, and three consecutive seasons finishing more than 40 games out of their divisions (which changed from the NL Central to the AL West.) 

The Astros built their world championship the old fashioned way: By stinking, again and again, until the sheer volume of draft talent overcame the wretched odor. Congratulations, Houston! By waiting patiently and not complaining while your owner banked his billions, you have finally been rewarded.

Now, here comes a surprise: The cost of doing business - that sweet $124 million opening day payroll - is about to rise. Here's part of the spreadsheet from Cot's Baseball Contracts, the neatest site on the interweb, (aside from this salute to the IBS lady.) Take a gander.

As you can see, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez are about to get nice, juicy raises. This season, the foursome earned about $21 million combined. This winter, Altuve alone will demand more than that. (Say, did I mention his agent is a plucky fellow named Scott Boras?) Gonzalez will expect to double his salary - at least - and the others will go to arbitration. Good luck, Houston, in keeping everyone happy!

But wait, there's more! Not shown are the contracts for Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Alex Brigman - arguably the heart of the future team - all of whom made the MLB minimum, about $550,000. The Astros can sit on Correa and Brigman; there's nothing they can do. But Junior McCullers is eligible for arbitration.

Of course, they can disappear Carlos Beltran without a peep, and the Yankees will continue to pay $5.5 million of Brian McCann's contract. But Houston's time in the Upside-Down world is about to begin, and there is nothing sadder than a big market team with a small market owner. 

Of course, the Astros will always have the glory of 2017, and we - as bitter, fuming, surly Yank fans - must still doff our flaming caps. Hell, they beat us fair and square. They beat us at home, because they earned the home field advantage, and they beat us with a mix of young and old. I am happy for McCann and Beltran, two class acts if ever there were. And 55 years is a long time to go without a championship. And yeah, there is that flood - (Though I hate it when media morons attempt to tie sports to calamities; the day after your team wins the playoffs, your car still needs a new set of brakes.) All hail Houston. They should enjoy it, while they can. And as the roll into the troublesome future, let us remember the difference between the Yankees and all other teams: We demand dynasties, not blips. 


JM said...

"Clippard went 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in 16 appearances for Houston and was left off the postseason roster. Still, he celebrated with his teammates on the field at Dodger Stadium after Wednesday’s win."

Karma something...McCann and Beltran also have new rings.

Not saying we shouldn't have got rid of them. Just weird how this happened.

KD said...

Happy for Beltran and McCann. Happy for Houston fans. Now I am wondering if the owner will demonstrate his small market chops by running a fire sale (ala the Marlins).

Vampifella said...

The Yanks are going to be in the same situation a few years down the road as well. No way can they afford Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Castro, Didi, Hicks and then Torrez if they all live up to their hype plus a Marchado/Harper as well paying 3 top quality starting pitchers (whomever they'll be) to play in NY. We are looking at an all-star quality team at just about every position but costing $250 to $300 million a year to do that. Will the recently "too cheap" Yankees actually go there?

The only way to make it work is to consistently trade off a few of them for more top level prospects to keep the team affordable over the years. I personally would trade off Judge now for a pair of quality starters with a bit of control, if any team would be foolish enough to do that. It is far easier to get $30 million a year Marchado/Harper to replace Judge when the time comes than it is to get two great pitchers.

But then again, would any team really trade a Trout type player in both ability and popularity? The fanbase would kill the owners and GM for doing that. But I have this strong nagging feeling that Judge is going to be the Mark Fidrych of the 2010s with only one good year and just fizzles out to nothing and becomes valueless. The Yanks so stacked and loaded with quality prospects which could easily replace Judge that should be something to consider.

Danny Tartabull said...