I know I wrote an article a few days ago that illustrated a potential trade idea about Jose Altuve. Just because I wrote the article, it does not mean I believed in the rumor, or was a fan of moving Altuve.
Jose Altuve (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)
However, after the news this morning, that is not something we will have to worry about.
The Astros issued a press release early this afternoon stating that they had given Altuve a four year contract extension that also includes team options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Terms of the contract were not immediately reported, however ESPN did report that the second baseman would be receiving $12.5 million over the four years of the contract.
Altuve was due to be eligible for arbitration in 2015 so the estimated average terms of this deal will represent a substantial raise over the $506,000 he is currently earning this season. The extension then buys out all three of his arbitration years along with giving the Astros team options for Altuve’s first two free agent years.
Financially, this contract makes perfect sense for both parties. Altuve batted .290 last year in his first full season while making the All-Star team and stealing 33 bases to go with 80 runs scored. So far this season he has followed that up by batting .280, to go with 36 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. That production and Altuve’s solid defense makes the 23-year old a perfect fit for an up and coming team that will be in playoff contention in just a few short years. Altuve slots in perfect at the top of the order, and will now be there for a minimum of the next four years.
This is the first real sign that Jim Crane was serious about spending money and making this team a winner. I know he has been saying that since he purchased the team, but this was the first time he put his money where his mouth is. And that is a good sign for the Astros and their fans.
For starters, this is a positive development for the team. It shows that the leadership is serious about moving the club in the right direction and building a winning squad. An example is set for all of the younger players, that if they come up to Houston and do well, they too can be rewarded. They will not have to worry about just being trade bait since the club does not want to pay them.
But more importantly, this good for the fans. The Astros have turned a corner here. This is the first move where they have shown a true commitment to winning at the major league level.
I have been an Altuve fan since he came up, but it was always in the back of my mind that he could be traded. When I was looking to purchase a new Astros jersey for the upcoming season, I was leery of purchasing an Altuve jersey because his future with the team was in question. Now that is not the case and it is nice knowing that we will be seeing the second baseman in Houston for at least the next four years. This is a sentiment I am sure other fans also feel, as it is hard to develop loyalty to players that might not be here in a year.
Jeff Luhnow now also has cost certainty at one position. While “overpaying” Altuve for probably the next two years, he is likely saving money when the second baseman reaches his later arbitration years.
This contract is a winner for everyone.