Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Veras says the Astros didn't have enough money to sign him

A week ago former Astros reliever Jose Veras said he wanted to return to Houston. Yesterday he signed with the Cubs on a one-year deal for $4m with an option for 2015. What's the problem? The Astros are looking for bullpen help. Veras is a reliever. Like, a live one. The reason Veras gave?

They said they didn't have enough money to get done the contract we asked for.

Let's ignore the dubious grammar employed in said reason and take a look at this...

The Astros will give Dexter Fowler $7m+, Scott Feldman will get $30m over the next three seasons, Jason Castro is going to get about $2m in arbitration, and Qualls/Albers will account for about another $5m. Count that the first year of Altuve's extension kicks in, and the Astros have spent/will spend an extra $25m - about double the payroll at the end of 2013 - in 2014.

Remember, there is still no resolution to the CSN Houston debacle, and the Astros haven't received their payments from CSN Houston since July. It's entirely possible that the team doesn't have enough money to sign Veras.

But the last clause of Veras' quote - the contract we asked for - is telling to me. The last link above says that the Astros are still looking for a pitcher and a hitter. We don't know that the Astros don't have enough money to sign Veras, because we don't know what Veras asked for. They did offer him a contract, he turned it down. We also don't know what the option for 2015 looks like. So it's misleading to say that the Astros didn't have enough money to sign Jose Veras, because we don't know (a) what Veras wanted and (b) what the total package for Veras will look like.

Look, we know the Astros have valuations for their free agents, and they're not going to spend more than they think a player is worth. I'm not broken up about Veras joining Wesley Wright in Chicago.