The Astros have to extend Kyle Tucker
Dana Brown got off to a hot start as Astros GM, immediately extending Cristian Javier. He was very vocal about his desire to extend young talent, and told owner Jim Crane it was time to start paying the young players and offering long-term extensions. Anticipation built all offseason that players like Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker would see long-term extensions this offseason.
Brown was "not optimistic" extensions would get done for Tucker and Valdez before his Thursday deadline, which went on to be the case. Of all the players that have approached free agency and looked for long-term extensions, Kyle Tucker may be the one Houston can least afford to lose.
Tucker is believed to want a 10-year deal. Houston laughs in the face of those contracts that have taken over the MLB. Crane hasn't gone past six years in his extension for Yordan last year. Tucker has more than his share of suitors that will come calling if Houston lets him hit free agency in three years.
At only 26, Tucker is under contract for three more years. He'll enter free agency at 29. Manny Machado is 30 and just got 11 years from the Padres. The Yankees gave Aaron Judge $360 million through his age-40 season. If you want the stars in today's game, you have to pony up.
Houston should pony up for Tucker. Buy out his remaining arbitration years and offer him the 10-year deal. If Tucker signed a 10-year extension right now, he would hit free agency at 36. It could be a rough last year or so of the deal, but by extending him early, Houston wouldn't deal with the steep decline that comes around age-38. The title window would remain wide open with a decade of MVP-caliber, 30/30 seasons ahead of Tucker.
They could even structure the extension like Seattle did with Julio Rodriguez, overloading the deal with incentives.
Tucker is young, fully healthy, elite at the plate, possibly even better defensively and a fantastic base runner. Rarely do you land a five-tool player that hits from the left side. The Astros can't afford to let him walk with his best baseball ahead of him.
Give Tucker 10 years and $250 million with incentives to boot. Otherwise, King Tuck will be the toughest loss for Houston to stomach yet.