By NEAL FARMER
Turning this in early while I still have power —
An incident has continued to bother me about the Astros since it happened. And I wonder if it is going to be a negative influence on this year’s squad.
About three weeks ago, 1B Yuli Gurriel told 2B Jose Altuve to throw the ball harder to him on a ground ball out. The next opportunity Altuve had on a grounder, he threw a lightning bolt to Gurriel. And then Altuve was still talking to himself when the Astros took the field the next half inning.
It seemed that the Astros have had a great bonding experience with their winning ways, and they all got along. I am not so sure of that any more for two reasons:
- George Springer was out at that time, and he is the glue that holds the team together with his random acts of extreme levity. Did his time out with an injury affect his ability to keep a good chemistry on the team with his childish pranks (that I love, by the way)?
I couldn’t find the team’s salaries at first, but I finally looked until I found them on Foxsports.com. The salary differences are significant.
In this specific situation, Gurriell is making $14 million this year, and Altuve is bringing in $4,687,500 in 2017.
For those of you scoring at home, and we hope that you are, that’s a salary of three times what Altuve makes. For someone who is not three times the player of Altuve.
Gurriel is a rookie, although an older, repatriated player from Cuba, while Altuve who has been with the Astros since 2012 – through the doldrums of 100-game loss seasons – and has been selected to five All-Star Games. In 2014, Altuve was the first player in 80 years to have 130 hits and steal 40 bases before the All-Star Game. He has led the AL in hits for two years and is in the hunt to do so again this year. I personally believe that Altuve is a lock for the Hall of Fame.
But it looks to me like the “root of all evil” is getting in the way of Houston’s chemistry. Maybe with Carlos Correa back, the squad will jell again like in April through June. But let’s continue the look at salaries, starting with Correa – the second-year player only makes $535,000 a year. If there is another Astro who likely is on the path to the Hall of Fame, it is Correa – with Springer another possibility, although that is way, way in the future with a lot of innings still to be played for both.
So, Springer’s salary? $3.9 million in 2017. Will Springer show so much levity if he realizes how much others make?
The leader in the salary list is Brian McCann, who is making $17 million this year, followed by Carlos Beltran’s $16 million this year. He is followed by Gurriell and Josh Reddick ($13 million, which is only about $1 aggregately for the “wooooo”s he gets when he bats). How did McCann get so much in his can?
And pitching? Dallas Keuchel is the leader in the clubhouse with just more than $9 million. But Tony Sipp gets $6 million while Chris Devenski gets $554,500? And Lance McCullers, whose hand in a curveball position was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, makes $548,000.
At this rate, it will take years for Devenski to become an overnight sensation.
Houston still is in great position for the playoffs, mainly because their division is awful. But it all goes down the drain if the Astros lose their chemistry over money.
Houston’s total amount spent on players’ salaries is $133,330,400. Current Astros salary figures, provided by Foxsports.net
Brian McCann $17,000,000
Carlos Beltran $16,000,000
Yuli Gurriell $14,000,000
Josh Reddick $13,000,000
Dallas Keuchel $9,150,000
Charlie Morton $7,000,000
Luke Gregerson $6,250,000
Tony Sipp $6,000,000
Evan Gattis $5,200,000
Jose Altuve $4,687,500
George Springer $3,900,000
Collin McHugh $3,850,000
Marwin Gonzalez $3,725,000
Mike Fiers $3,450,000
Will Harris $2,200,000
Jake Marisnick $1,100,000
Chris Devenski $554,500
Ken Giles $550,100
Lance McCullers $548,000
Michael Feliz $546,200
Joe Musgrove $543,400
Brad Peacock $542,500
Alex Bregman $539,400
David Paulino $536,100
Carlos Correa $535,000
Derek Fisher $535,000
Juan Centeno $535,000
Frances Martes $535,000
James Hoyt $535,000
Reymin Guduan $535,000
ASTROS, TEXANS, COUGARS DIVERT TO OTHER CITIES DUE TO HEAVY RAINS – The Astros and Rangers are in Dallas instead of flying to Houston from their respective games in California. The teams are scheduled to play a three-game series on Tuesday in Houston. But that is in limbo.
The Texans went to Dallas instead of home after their preseason game in New Orleans. They play the Cowboys on Thursday in a game that currently is scheduled for Houston. Dallas has offered to host the game, if necessary.
And the University of Houston is practicing at the University of Texas in Austin. UH’s first game this year is Saturday in San Antonio against Texas-San Antonio, which is about 80 miles from Austin.
TEXANS OFFENSE BITES BIG ONE IN NEW ORLEANS – There was so much happiness in the city when the Texans played well on offense in their first two preseason games. Now it is concern and disaster.
I predicted that Houston would go 10-6 this year, because the defense was good enough to lay like it did last year and the offense would be just good enough for one more win than last year. But after being shut out by New Orleans? Logic tells me to wait until after the preseason is over, because the teams are playing people now to see who they will cut and who they will keep.
If I were on offense for the Texans, and not with a large contract, I would be very, very worried right now.
BAD NFL TRADES – This includes the Houston Oilers giving up Steve Largent to Seattle. Another hugely bad trade they missed in this article was when the Oilers received six players from the Washington Redskins in trade for Kenny Houston. Houston went on to be All-Pro for the Redskins and no one remembers any of the six players that Houston got.
CLASSICAL NOTES: Beethoven Symphony No. 7, Second movement. A theme that is based on three notes, it is one of the greatest pieces ever written. It is slow and become passionate, for those who want to be introspective with all the flooding in our area.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: When you get no runs, it is hard to win. – An old baseball saying that applies to the Texans this week.
HOTTIE OF THE DAY: