The Houston Astros haven’t been known to ink the largest contracts in franchise history, while never committing to more than $152 million on a single check. But with the growth of baseball and the franchise being handed away over and over, current owner Jim Crane has granted the largest contract in franchise history.
That contract was to Jose Altuve in 2018, as the signed extension was made through the 2024 season. Altuve had signed a contract in 2013 that included a team-friendly option for the 2019 season, the final year of that deal.
During spring training of 2018, Altuve and the Astros agreed to terms on a contract worth $151 million over five years. This was the offseason following Altuve’s career-year and winning the American League MVP.
Altuve helped bring home the franchise’s first World Series title in the process, while him being an Astro into his mid-30s felt like a given. The now 31-year-old has defied the odds and bounced back from a troublesome 2020 season.
How has Jose Altuve played since signing the Astros’ largest contract in franchise history?
Altuve has played four seasons since inking his franchise-leading extension. In those seasons, the second baseman has been to two All-Star Games, while also picking up American League MVP votes and a Silver Slugger in 2018.
Although his 2020 numbers are an outlier in the small-sample season, Altuve has slashed .288/.355/.479 with 80 home runs and 236 RBI. Even with a move back to the leadoff spot, the right-hander has continued to excel offensively for the three-time American League champions.
Of other major-league organizations, three former Astros make up the largest contract in their history. For the Toronto Blue Jays, George Springers’ six-year, $150 million contract is their largest, and for the New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole’s nine-year, $324 million deal is their largest.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ largest contract in franchise history was worth six years, $206.5 million to Zack Greinke, which will be paid off by the Astros in 2026.