Jose Altuve's contract clearly designed to help Astros pay Kyle Tucker

The Astros are playing the long game.
Houston Astros players Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve
Houston Astros players Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Jose Altuve will be an Astro for life.

On Tuesday evening, the Houston Astros announced a five-year contract extension with the face of the franchise, Jose Altuve. The second baseman was entering the final year of the previous seven-year contract extension he had signed with the club.

Altuve's new five-year, $125 million contract includes a $15 million signing bonus and will pay him $30 million from 2025-2027. Altuve's salary will then drop to $10 million in 2028 and 2029.

Interestingly enough, the way Altuve's contract is structured sets the club up very well to retain Kyle Tucker. The Houston outfielder is scheduled to reach free agency after the 2025 season, but with so little of Altuve's salary committed beyond 2027, fitting both players in to the payroll over the short-term shouldn't be a problem (and could lead to some backloading on Tucker's next deal).

Jose Altuve's contract clearly designed to help Astros pay Kyle Tucker

Tucker and the Astros have already agreed on a one-year, $12 million contract for the 2024 season. The 27-year-old will then be entering the final year of his arbitration window next offseason and can become a free agent after the close of the 2025 season.

The Astros could conceivably work out a backloaded contract extension with Tucker that would shift the lion's share of the payments until after the 2027 season when Altuve's salary is reduced by $20 million per season. This was a stroke of brilliance by Astros General Manager Dana Brown and the Houston front office.

While Altuve is the face of the franchise and a likely Hall of Famer by the time his career comes to an end, Tucker will be the future cornerstone of the Astros. While Altuve is still an All-Star caliber player and his career is far from over, Tucker will be squarely in the MVP race for the next five-plus seasons.

In 2023, Tucker hit .284/.369/.517 and led the American League with 112 RBI while also clubbing 61 extra-base hits, including 29 home runs. Tucker also plays above-average defense in the outfield and won a Gold Glove Award in 2022.

Securing Jose Altuve's long-term future as a member of the Houston Astros was obviously the first piece of this payroll puzzle. Now the Astros can shift their attention to Kyle Tucker, and look to lock up the club's most talented player for the next decade.