Wade: Business as usual despite impending sale

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Friday the impending sale of the club won’t have any effect on what moves he plans to make this offseason. Owner Drayton McLane announced at a press conference Friday he would begin taking offers to sell the team.

The Astros made their first significant move of the winter Thursday by trading pitcher Felipe Paulino to the Rockies for infielder Clint Barmes, who appears to be penciled in as their starting shortstop. Wade said Friday the club still has some payroll flexibility, and the Astros would still like to add a starting pitcher, a left-handed hitting outfielder and perhaps another infielder.

“We’ll continue doing what we can to improve our club and take the next step of we can,” Wade said. “Every club has a budget, and we know what our budget is and we’ll work within the confines of that. I clearly understand why we have a budget. You’ve got to work within your means and it’s got to be reflective of what your revenues are. Talking to Drayton and [president of business operations] Pam Gardner and [president of baseball operations] Tal [Smith], it’s clear that what we have to spend fits the revenue we’ve got. We still have to make smart decisions.”

The Astros began last season with a $93 million payroll, but that had been cut dramatically by September following the trades of Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt and Pedro Feliz. Next year’s payroll likely won’t be as high as last season’s Opening Day figure, but it should be higher from where it was at the end of the season despite having $43 million committed to contracts in 2011 and having 11 arbitration-eligible players, including Barmes ($3.3 million in 2010).

“It’s only November,” Wade said. “We don’t open Spring Training until the 16th of February, so we have a lot of times to do things. Before we roll back in here to play the Red Sox in those two exhibition games, I suspect we’ll do a few more things.”

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