Though the Houston Astros do not have any truly awful contracts, the one they signed with second baseman Jose Altuve has the chance to become an albatross if he cannot get it right.
If any Houston Astros contract is bound to blow up in their face, it has to be the one they gave second baseman Jose Altuve back in 2018.
At the time, this was a no-brainer. Altuve was coming off an AL MVP season. His team had just won the World Series. Altuve was a perennial All-Star and a Silver Slugger recipient entering the 2018 MLB season. He inked a seven-year deal worth $163.5 million that has him in Astros uniform through 2024. Too bad he is coming off a truly horrid 2020 at the plate for Houston.
Jose Altuve will earn $26 million in base salary for the next four seasons
In the aftermath of the dreaded sign-stealing scandal, no team in baseball was more reviled than the Astros. No player was more scrutinized than Altuve. Thus, he slashed a career-worst at the plate with a line of .219/.286./.344 in 2020. Though Houston made it to the ALCS, Altuve looked pitiful at the plate in only 48 games. He has to be better than this in the last four years of the deal.
Altuve will earn $26 million in base salary each of the next four years. As fate would have it, once his salary escalated, his play only worsened. Last year was the first of five of him earning that average annual salary. No Astro of note is on the books longer and for as much money as Altuve. Since second base is rarely a premium position, this contract may look much worse in the coming years.
If Altuve plays up to his lofty standard, his contract will avoid potentially becoming a catastrophe.