Jose Altuve will be with the Houston Astros for a while
The Houston Astros have come a long way the past few years, and much of their success has been based on the emergence of Jose Altuve. Altuve is the leader on the team that the Astros have not had since Craig Biggio. Especially on a team that we have dubbed ‘Crush City,’ you need a player like Altuve getting on-base in front of the sluggers to prevent some of the home runs from being solo shots.
Would Altuve draw a huge trade package, as Michael wrote yesterday: Should Luhnow Explore Trading Jose Altuve? While Michael presented a well-thought post describing why it would be a good decision, Astros nation was really opposed to it. Why? Because he has become a Houston icon, the short player who overcame all odds to become an MLB All-Star. Altuve’s value is at an all-time high at the moment, as he ranks in the top-10 ESPN overall baseball players in fantasy baseball and the top second baseman.
Would the Astros trade Altuve after reaching the playoffs for the first time in a decade? No, as some of the readers proclaimed in their comments that such a trade would push them away from the Astros again. It would be a public relations nightmare. Does that mean that Altuve will be a lifetime Astro like Biggio was? It is very rare that a player stays with the same team anymore, but Altuve could break the mold if the Astros are game. Two straight Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove Awards have been added to his trophy case, he is on top of his game.
I remember one offseason, there was talk Biggio was going to the Colorado Rockies as a free agent, but there was such a public outcry that Drayton McClane opened his pocket books to re-sign Biggio. As Michael pointed out, Altuve is currently signed for four more years on a very team friendly four-year $20.5 million dollar contract. Altuve is now 25, so when he is due to become a free agent, he will be 29-years-old. I’m not sure what the Astros will think about it, but they saved some money with his current contract, they can afford to extend him for 5-6 years.
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With a number of young players the Astros will have to trickle into Houston over the next few years, they will need a veteran leader like Altuve. Altuve now is still young enough to relate to the youngsters, but as he ages, I can see him becoming a role model for them like Biggio was.
While most people feel like 2015 was the start of the Astros window of opportunity, while others feel like success is not guaranteed in 2016. Trading Altuve might help fix other needs; there is no guarantee that Tony Kemp, Nolan Fontana, or Alex Bregman would even be able to reach Altuve’s level. Losing Altuve would disrupt the chemistry, production, and set the team back a year.
While I agree that Altuve’s trade value may never be higher, I don’t see Jeff Luhnow making that move at this moment. Astros’ fans are just now starting to come back after the ‘process,’ so they wouldn’t want to risk losing them again. His on-base, speed, and developing power would be hard to replace.