Quietly, the Astros have voided the signing of 20-year-old Cuban lefthander Cionel Perez who had agreed to ink a $5.15 million signing bonus to join the Houston organization. General Manager Jeff Luhnow was mum on why the deal fell through but reports hinted that there were issues with the physical, bringing back memories of the 2014 nightmare involving first overall draft pick Brady Aiken.
Luhnow: Aiken Part Dos?
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
As with Aiken, the details of the physical are confidential and the Astros are said to be interested in signing Perez but at a price considerably less than the previously-agreed amount.
In this case, however, The Astros might just be trying to save themselves $10 million dollars. Finding the American free agent field lacking, the Astros were heavy shoppers in the international market this season, agreeing to approximately $6.8 million in contracts to 19 players according to Brian McTaggart at Astros.com.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement is structured so that any team surpassing their pool allowance by 15 percent (Houston's was $2.19 million) must pay a fine that's equal to the amount they went over the limit. So Perez' $5.15 million bonus would have actually cost the Astros $10.3 million. In addition, the CBA forbids the Astros from making a similar splurge until 2019.
There's no Alex Bregman waiting for the Astros if they void this deal, just a tidy savings. Perez was the fourth-rated overall international prospect and the centerpiece of Houston's shopping spree but perhaps buyer's remorse set in. Unless it starts a diplomatic incident, the decision won't spark the outrage that the Aiken fiasco did but, ultimately, the Astros were proven correct about Aiken's left elbow and perhaps the Astros will be vindicated here too.
In other news, Bench Coach Trey Hillman has agreed on a two-year contract to manage a team in South Korea. That leaves a void in Houston's coaching staff that will no-doubt be filled sometime over the winter.
Three Astros are among the nominees for the American League Gold Glove Awards - pitcher Dallas Keuchel and outfielders Colby Rasmus and George Springer. Keuchel won at his position last year.
Jose Altuve was named the Sporting News' American League Player of the Year, a similar honor as the league's Most Valuable Player Award and, possibly, a harbinger of that balloting.
At whatever point the World Series comes to a close, it will open up the spigot for several personnel moves including qualifying offers on pending free agents and initial offers to arbitration eligible players. Soon after, the free agent feeding frenzy begins and post-season awards are announced. Astros Daily will do our best to keep up with all the changes as they happen.