According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Houston Astros, who finished at 51-111 – the worst record in all of Major League Baseball, could make a serious run at free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo this offseason.
Depending on who you ask, Houston finished the 2013 season with a payroll somewhere in the ballpark of $15 -$20 million.
In case you’re wondering, that’s low. There are dozens of players that make more than that in a season by themselves.
The team’s highest-paid player, Bud Norris, was dealt mid-season to the Baltimore Orioles, and even then, he made just $3 million.
But anyone who has watched the St. Louis Cardinals – a team current Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow was instrumental in developing – this season will understand why it makes a lot of sense.
He relies on hitters to get on base, anyway they can.
Choo finished the season with the second-highest on-base percentage in the National League (.423) while also showcasing solid power with 21 home runs and over 100 runs scored.
Houston owner Jim Crane has said he has no objections over raising the team’s payroll, but one hindrance is the disastrous television deal that Astros currently find themselves entangled in. That being said, Crane has stated recently, “ “I would say the payroll could go to $50-$60 [million] very quickly, and if this [TV situation] gets resolved, it could go higher.”
Choo has been linked to the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and even the Seattle Mariners, but Houston could be an intriguing fit for the South Korean native. The only question that remains is – will Houston properly incentivize him financially?