It's no secret that the Houston Astros are shedding payroll like crazy. After the payroll going up every year from 2000 through 2006, it's now dropped over $25 million since 2009 and looks to go even lower in 2012.â†µ
The Biz of Baseball showed that Houston's total salary commitmentsdropped almost 10 percent in the past year and is down to about $81 million last season. Now that there will no longer be deferred money for Roy Oswalt, that number will go down even further and should end up somewhere around $55 million.â†µ
For a little perspective, the last time Houston's payroll was under $60 million was in 2000, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.â†µ
What's worse, the divisional breakdowns in the article above show that Houston will be moving into an even tougher division money-wise. The AL West spent over $10 million more on average than the NL Central. If you look at the payroll estimates at Baseball Reference, three of the four current AL West teams will have payrolls over $90 million in 2012.â†µ
If Oakland's proposed move into San Jose proves financially beneficial, it looks like Houston will have a huge amount of pressure to spend itself in the coming years following the move into the American League.