By a show of hands, who is excited for the Astros to be playing in the American League this year?
In all seriousness, I was just completing my morning routine of checking Red Sox headlines, and my last stop was (as always) the Extra Bases blog, where there was a short blurb about old friend Jed Lowrie being traded from Houston to the Oakland A's (which is now an intra-divisional trade), and it included a list of the highest paid players on the Astros:
- RHP Bud Norris ($3 million)
- 1B Carlos Pena ($2.9 million)
- RHP Jose Veras ($2 million)
- LHP Wesley Wright ($1.025 million)
- RHP Philip Humber ($850,000)
For reference, the five highest paid players in Boston are making considerably more:
- RHP John Lackey ($16.5 million)
- RHP Ryan Dempster ($13.25 million)
- DH David Ortiz ($13 million)
- OF Shane Victorino ($13 million)
- SS Stephen Drew ($9.5 million)
Obviously, the highest paid players aren't always the best, and having a large payroll is no guarantee of success, but the comparison is pretty stark for the Astros. The Astros will be at Fenway at the end of April for four games, and then the Red Sox will head to Houston for a three game set at the beginning of August.
Given how the Red Sox have been playing in the last year or so, even the moribund Astros can't be counted on as an easy win - but their presence in the American League can only be good for the rest of the AL's teams.