Originally posted on Bush League Chronicle  |  Last updated 3/14/13
Life is tough for Houston Astros fans right now.The lowly 'Stros have lost over 100 games in each of the past two seasons while finishing dead last in the standings. The losing trend is expected to continue in 2013 as the team migrates from the National League Central to the ultra-competitive American League West. And they will do so with the smallest payroll in Major League Baseball by far.However, owner Jim Crane shows no shame in his reluctance to invest in better players. He is perfectly content with boasting a team payroll around $25 million, according to baseball-reference.com. For comparison, the Los Angeles Dodgers are projected to be spend over $200 million on their roster this year. The team with the lowest estimated payroll besides Houston is the Miami Marlins, who despite cleaning house this offseason, still are on the hook to spend almost twice ($45.5M) what the Astros will in 2013.Crane has a message for anybody who holds a gripe with Houston's thrifty spending."It doesn't bother me that people want us to spend more money," Crane said. "But it's not their money. This is a private company, even though it's got a public flair to it. If they want to write a check for 10 million bucks, they can give me a call."In fairness, Crane and the new ownership is in the process of rebuilding the franchise from scratch and one of their main objectives is to stockpile minor league talent. Basically, Crane is writing off the chance of any success in the short-term in hopes that the seeds he plants now will prove to be fruitful long-term."We want to build a product that's consistent, and the only way we can do that is the way we're doing it," he said. "If people want to complain about it, they have a right to complain about it. But we're going to stick with the plan."As noble as Crane's ambitions are, the rock bottom expenditure is a far cry from the $92.4 million Opening Day payroll Houston had on the books as recently as 2010.Via The Wall Street Journal
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