The Astros signing of Josh Hader continues to be huge news in Houston. Such a drastic change of protocol regarding free agency and the CBT remains hard to believe. After being reluctant to spend big money in free agency, and never giving out a free agent contract longer than four years, Houston gave Josh Hader five years and $95 million, making him the richest closer in MLB history.
Hader immediately becomes one of the biggest signings in franchise history. Barring an out of nowhere collapse at 29 years old, Hader should be a dominant arm for the remainder of his contract. Assuming he lives up to his 2.50 career ERA, he will be one of the best signings Houston has ever made.
So let's take a look at the other huge moves Houston has made in free agency. There aren't a ton, and for all of the criticism lobbed Jim Crane's way about not spending, most of the splashes they have made have come under his regime.
Ranking the 7 biggest free agent signings in Astros history
Let's start with the richest deal Houston has ever handed out.
No. 7: Carlos Lee
Heading into the 2007 season, Carlos Lee signed with the Astros for six years and $100 million. To this day, the Astros have never given a free agent a more expensive contract. Houston had just missed the playoffs in 2006 and signed Lee to bolster their offense.
For the first three years of his deal, he did just that. From 2007-2009, Lee hit .305 with 86 home runs, 321 RBI and an .878 OPS. He stumbled a bit in 2010 before rebounding in 2011.
Lee was shipped out in 2012 at 36 years old to the Marlins as the Astros entered their now famous rebuild under Crane and Luhnow.
All told, Lee hit .286 with 133 home runs and an .817 OPS during his Astros tenure. The Astros missed the playoffs in all six of Lee's seasons in Houston. Lee lived up to his end of the deal, but his contract did hamstring the organization quite a bit, and they never really surrounded him with the needed talent to win.
That said, it's the richest deal they've ever given out and he performed around at least an All-Star level in four of the six seasons. It's definitely one of the biggest signings Houston has ever made.