In a lot of ways, the next 12 months are going to determine a lot about the direction of the Houston Astros as a franchise. While getting Jose Altuve's contract extension out of the way was a fantastic start, the team's ability or lack thereof to keep Alex Bregman, Framber Valdez, and Kyle Tucker is going to determine a lot about the organization's strategy in the coming years.
While the Valdez and Tucker decisions have some time before they need to be made, Alex Bregman's future is a much more pressing matter. The prevailing wisdom has been that Bregman was going to test the free agent market next offseason and might be priced out of where the Astros would feel comfortable.
Scott Boras has, predictably, been at the center of the Bregman conversation. Boras is notorious around the league for demanding top dollar for his clients and very often getting it. While Houston was able to work with him on Altuve's extension, things might not come so easily next time the two sides must come to the table.
Scott Boras' stance on Alex Bregman's next deal shows he is as good as gone
While Boras did go out of his way to say later that Bregman has been clear that he is willing to listen to any pitches the Astros have for him, his comments on Bregman's impending free agency are pretty telling. Boras was clear that he viewed Altuve's extension very differently given the second baseman's previous contract and age. Instead of settling, Bregman is going to get Boras' "squeeze every dollar out possible" approach as a leading free agent, rather than an aging face of the franchise.
The issue here is that the Astros have not really been in the business of giving out megadeals. They took on Justin Verlander at a high AAV, but that deal is also short-term, and the Josh Hader signing will pale in comparison to what Bregman is looking to get. Even owner Jim Crane, who has yet to give out more than $150 million to any one player, acknowledged that Bregman may fall into the camp of guys like Carlos Correa and George Springer that simply wanted to test free agency and didn't fit the Astros' plans because of age and/or cost.
Nothing is certain until he actually hits the open market and signs his next deal, but there is a growing amount of evidence from all sides that 2024 could very well be the last year we see Alex Bregman in an Astros uniform.