The Major League Baseball Players Association is monitoring the Houston Astros' spending pattern, but the team isn't changing course, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The Astros' major league payroll was below $30 million last season and is likely to fall somewhere in the $50 to $60 million range in 2014.
MLBPA president Tony Clark told the Associated Press in December that the Astros, along with the Marlins, were being "monitored" to make sure that they "move in the right direction." The team added payroll this offseason thanks to arbitration raises and the acquisitions of Dexter Fowler, Jesse Crain, Scott Feldman, and Jerome Williams among others, but someone familiar with the union's thinking on the matter doesn't believe that their overall opinion on the Astros' situation has changed, according to Dreliich.
Astros owner Jim Crane, on the other hand, told Drellich that they hadn't been confronted about the issue.
I have not got one indication. I wouldn't know Tony if he walked in the room, and no one from baseball has said anything to me about our own payroll.
The team remains adamant that they aren't sacrificing success in order to line their wallets, but rather that they are dealing with a problematic TV revenue situation and are working to build a robust farm system after taking over an organization that was in very rough shape.
While many have challenged their Astros' deliberate attempt to keep payroll low while a poor major league product on the field, recent offseason rankings suggest their farm system is in tremendous shape and is expected to pay dividends in the years to come.