Jose Altuve‘s long-term extension may only be the beginning of the Astros’ attempts to keep their valuable nucleus together.
In case you missed the news on Friday, the Astros are reportedly in agreement with AL MVP, Jose Altuve, on a long-term contract extension. The terms are expected to be five-year, $151 million. The deal is apparently a win for Altuve as he now has the distinction of the most substantial contract in franchise history. It is also a coup, at least on the short-term, for Houston as Altuve would’ve likely received a more significant deal on the open market in two years time. I will delve deeper into the specifics on Altuve’s new contract in another post.
Instead, I want to concentrate on the payroll situation staring down the Astros in the coming years. For one, the looming question of Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez in about eight months times. Both players are sure to receive plenty of interest on the open market. Of course, this latest offseason did not go according to plan.
Next offseason is not a known quantity beyond the prominent names. Then there are the potential contracts for players like George Springer and Carlos Correa lurking beyond next offseason. There are other players to consider in the coming years. After all, most of the core are still on their original contracts.
So, how does the Astros total payroll allocations look in the coming years?
As you can summarize, the Astros currently do not have much regarding firm commitments in place past 2019. Of course, you can expect these future numbers to increase by great measures once the Altuve extension is official along with many raises through arbitration or free agency. But it is clear that the Astros’ management has the built-in payroll flexibility to absorb such costs in the future. The question will then become how the organization can supplement the roster as needed as the core player’s value continues to rise.
While the farm system can still be expected to churn out quality players, the fact remains that free agency will eventually jump into the fray again. There is no denying that much. Take a look what the team did last winter when they signed Charlie Morton, Carlos Beltran, and Josh Reddick. Brain McCann was another veteran added via trade that required a bit of financial commitment. The same applies to Yuli Gurriel in the summer before. Justin Verlander during the latest trade deadline.
In conclusion, the Astros’ future payroll commitment will inevitably rise in the coming years. Yes, even following the eventual payroll relief brought on by expiring contracts. While it is unrealistic to retain everyone over the next three-to-four offseasons, the team should be able to resign some of its players. The money will be spent. It remains to be seen, though, how the resources will be utilized.
**Information courtesy of Spotrac**