The Houston Astros entered the day of the deadline for players and teams to agreed to a contract to avoid arbitration, the Astros had two key pieces of business. The first was trying to come to terms with Kyle Tucker which they pulled off rather successfully. The other was to attempt to come to terms with arguably the most important pitcher on their roster, Framber Valdez.
Valdez is entering the second to last year he is under team control having come off back-to-back All-Star campaigns while also placing in the top 10 in AL Cy Young voting twice as well. All told, Valdez has posted a 3.40 ERA across six seasons with the Astros while steadily forming himself into one of the best left-handed pitchers in all of baseball.
Many thought that due to Houston's tight payroll and the lofty projections for how much Valdez was expected to get in arbitration, a hearing with Valdez was inevitable. However, that turned out not to be the case as it was reported that Houston and Valdez agreed to a one year, $12.1 million deal.
Does Framber Valdez's settlement with Houston mean the end of all of the trade chatter?
There is some hope that Valdez and Houston coming to an agreement means that all of the trade rumors surrounding him will come to an end. General manager Dana Brown already tried to extend Valdez before the 2023 season and between him and Kyle Tucker, it is generally agreed upon that working out an extension down the line with Valdez will be the easier of the two. Avoiding arbitration speaks to a certain level of communication and understanding between Framber and the front office that is cause for at least some optimism.
However, the reality is that not much changes when it comes to a potential Valdez trade beyond that potential suitors now know exactly how much he is owed. The Astros have maintained that they are looking to compete in 2024 and trading one of their best pitchers wouldn't make much sense in that world. That said, that was true before he settled, so you can expect Houston to continue to listen on Framber just to see if a team is willing to blow them away.
Either way, one less area of uncertainty exists for the Astros this offseason. We'll see if that means they will actually start making some moves.