Houston Astros: Team says they can afford a Giancarlo Stanton contract

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Giancarlo Stanton
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Giancarlo Stanton /

The Houston Astros have been World Champs for two weeks and talks have already heated up in terms who else to bring in to make this team better.  Although an unlikely move, Jim Crane just admitted publicly that he wouldn’t rule out taking on a contract like one Giancarlo Stanton.

Houston Astros fans — I can’t even fathom how unfairly dominant this team would be if they actually decided to pull the trigger on such a deal to land Giancarlo Stanton. But with the Houston Astros typical pragmatic approach to their spending, the team’s payroll actually ballooned to $150 million last season, which was up from $114 million in 2016 — being right on par with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  The difference is that I don’t think the latter two were expecting to contend for a title this year.

This team is serious on contending for a long time and it goes to show the high level of commitment that Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has in the product itself and how he wants it to prosper even more.

His latest comments indicate that there are no options on the table that are off-limits to the team but it’s just one of those situations where it has to heavily evaluated.

Crane talked with Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who was doing more of a hypothetical piece of the Houston Astros being a landing spot for Stanton.  He provided some interesting tidbits on behalf as he was covering the GM Meetings in Orlando, Fla this past week.

Here’s what Crane had to say about the right-fielder:

"“We look at everything,” Crane said. “[Stanton] does not fit a specific need, but we will go outside the box, too. No one thought we’d take on Verlander and we got that one done by the skin of our teeth. There are only four or five teams that can take on that kind of contract at this time and we are one of them.”"

He also talked about how “easily the ball would go out of our ballpark” as well.  He did give several caveats in regard to the potential risks of taking on long-term deals — insert a Carlos Lee reference here any time please — plus that the team is taking on Justin Verlander‘s salary for the next two years as well as nine players eligible for arbitration.  Those players are:  Dallas Keuchel, Evan Gattis, Mike Fiers, Collin McHugh, George Springer, Brad Peacock, Jake Marisnick, Ken Giles and Lance McCullers Jr.

Stanton is currently on a 13-year, $325 million contract that he signed back in 2014 and still has 10 years remaining on it.  He’ll earn an average of $25 million per season through 2027, the

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largest compensatory pact for a player in MLB history.  He will be 38-years-old at the end of his deal.  He has a no-trade clause in his deal but I’d have absolutely no doubt that he’d waive it if such an opportunity for him to play here presented itself.  He’s getting to the point in his career where he’d like to win a ring and he’d have the best chance of getting it here in H-Town.

All things considered, that’s a lot on the Houston Astros front office’s plate for this off season as they’ll be busy trying to make all those contracts work under to what I’m sure they have their own preset spending limit they have each season.

So with that being said, a trade for Stanton would be unlikely because of all the resources that it’d take just to land the guy.  I’m all for bringing most of the team back so that way we have a shot to go after back-to-back title.

And besides, Sherman alluded to the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals as the likely favorites to win him over from his languishing with the Miami Marlins.

However, it doesn’t hurt to dream about what it’d be like to have a guy Stanton’s clutch stature on the daily lineup card.  But the reality is that some of the guys we’ve come to love would definitely have to go and I’m certainly not a fan of drastically tinkering the formula all that much.  We have to keep the core of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Springer together as long as we possibly can.  We’ll have to see.

Next: An open letter to Carlos Beltran with reflection

Stanton, 28, slashed .281/.376/.631 with a 1.007 OPS, 132 ribbies, 168 hits and 59 home runs through 597 at-bats in 2017.  This included, of course, an All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger honors.  The numbers he put up were mostly career highs.  Wow.

Go Astros.