The Astros broke the news Houston fans have been clamoring for on Tuesday evening, announcing a five-year extension with Jose Altuve, all but guaranteeing Altuve will finish his career in Houston.
As Chandler Rome pointed out for The Athletic, Altuve was never going to play anywhere else. He took a team-friendly deal to ensure not only that he stays in Houston, but that the Astros can continue to build contenders around him.
Perhaps most importantly, Jim Crane’s quote after the signing should have Astros fans ecstatic and fans across the league shaking in their boots:
"“While I’m here, the window will never close.”"- Jim Crane
Astros fans, breathe a sigh of relief. Many assumed the Astros' window was coming to a close in the next two years. Altuve, Alex Bregman, and potentially Justin Verlander were headed for free agency and/or retirement at the end of 2024, while Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker are set to hit the market in 2025. The Astros have racked up seven straight ALCS trips, four World Series berths, and two rings in their Golden Era window. According to Crane, this window isn’t closing any time soon.
The Astros just landed the best reliever on the market in Josh Hader. They came to terms with their face of the franchise on an extension. Teams set to enter a rebuild don’t do this.
Altuve’s contract is front-loaded. He’ll be paid $125 million from 2025-2029 for an AAV of $25 million. From 2025-2028, Altuve will make $30 million a year. In the final two years of his deal, though, marking Altuve’s age-38 and 39 seasons, he’ll make a measly $10 million a piece. For that little money, Houston will be able to surround the aging Altuve with star talent around him as he chases down more rings and the all-important 3,000 hit club that would guarantee his trip to Cooperstown.
With Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, Ryan Pressly, and Jose Abreu’s money coming off the books in 2025, the Astros will have plenty to spend to retain Kyle Tucker in free agency if they choose to do so, or they can be aggressive in free agency to replace their departed talent.
When Crane arrived, the Astros completed a three-year tank that resulted in some of the greatest players in franchise history joining the team through the draft and via trades. Their greatest ever player was here for the rebuild, and has been here for the entirety of the title window being open.
According to Crane, that window won’t close anytime soon. His offseason acquisition of Hader and extension of Altuve back him up so far. Let’s see what Crane and his GM Dana Brown have up their sleeves next.