The Houston Astros are coming off their second consecutive 100-loss season and spent much of the 2012 campaign cleaning house and ridding themselves of bloated contracts (such as Carlos Lee's) in an effort to find younger, usable pieces. Now, general manager Jeff Luhnow expects that the team's payroll will decrease from its 2012 Opening Day figure of $60,799,000.
The Astros are leaving the six-team National League Central and will compete in the now-five-team American League West during the 2013 season. Though the commissioner's office and MLB Players Association scorn clubs that have major drops in their payrolls, Houston will likely be granted a mulligan, as it is in the stages of a complete rebuild. The club has no contract commitments for the 2013 season, which will change once players come to arbitration agreements. However, the team is unlikely to see its payroll rise far above a $30 million figure, which is a considerable dropoff from the lowest Opening Day payroll from 2012, which was $55.2 million (the Padres).