Talk of contract extensions is nothing new for the Houston Astros. Going back to at least last offseason (and probably further), the Astros have been looking to try and extend Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve, and Framber Valdez , with Altuve's deal finally materializing late Tuesday. There is still time to get deals done for the younger, extendable Astros, but every day closer to free agency these guys get, it becomes more and more likely that they could be playing elsewhere -- especially with what players entering their primes are getting in free agency nowadays.
Each guy is different between age, position, and contract expectations, so these are deals that do take time to come together. However, with the recent news that the Royals of all teams went ahead and gave Bobby Witt Jr. a massive $288.8 million contract extension, the Astros' guys that could be candidates for extensions may have just gotten a bit more expensive.
Could Bobby Witt Jr.'s extension make it harder for Astros to keep Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Peña?
Let's remove some of the guys that are "probably" not impacted by Witt Jr.'s extension. Jose Altuve's age and track record of awesomeness makes drawing any comparisons there nonsensical; his five-year, $125 million deal was unaffected by Witt Jr.'s windfall (and was probably budgeted for long ago). Framber Valdez is a pitcher who is two years away from free agency, so Witt Jr.'s contract shouldn't change much there, either.
Kyle Tucker is a more interesting case. He is a position player, although at a different position, and there have already been those that have tried to use Rafael Dever's $331 million deal as a starting point for extension conversations with him. However, Tucker is four years older and much closer to free agency than Witt Jr. was, as well as a more proven commodity. That said, you can bet money on Tucker's agent using this extension from the Royals as leverage to try and get him paid.
The best parallel that the Astros have who could feasibly get an extension is Jeremy Peña. Both players are shortstops and had the same amount of team control at the time of Witt Jr.'s deal. That is where the similarities end, however. Peña is two years older than Witt, a slightly worse defender, and doesn't have anywhere near the offensive ceiling that the Royals' face does. In terms of present and future value, Witt Jr. outclasses Peña in basically every way.
That doesn't mean that Witt Jr.'s extension won't matter at all. The Astros would be crazy to offer Peña the same deal, but Peña could argue that the price in general for a prospective extension has gone up. 11 years and $288 million wouldn't make much sense to argue for, but he would be smart to use the current market price for strong defending shortstops who can hit and scale it upward now that Witt Jr. just got paid. Based on the free agent prices that quality shortstops have been getting lately as well, he wouldn't be wrong.