Could Ohtani contract deferrals set stage for Astros with Alex Bregman?

Shohei Ohtani might have given the Astros a way to retain Alex Bregman after all

Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

There have been the slightest of whispers over the course of this offseason involving Alex Bregman and a potential trade away from the Houston Astros. The reason for those whispers is quite simple. No, Houston doesn't want to and likely won't deal him. However, his impending free agency has them concerned that the 2024 season might be his last in an Astros uniform. Losing him for nothing more than a measly draft pick would be a pretty horrific outcome.

Houston would love to keep Bregman around long-term but appear to be prioritizing fellow franchise icon Jose Altuve when it comes to long-term contract talks. Altuve is in the final year of his deal as well.

Fitting both Altuve and Bregman long-term while also keeping players like Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker who are due to be paid hefty contracts in just a couple of seasons feels impossible without some creative contract structuring by the Astros front office. Thankfully for them, Shohei Ohtani might have inadvertently given the Astros the key to keeping their team together long-term, as speculated by Brad Wakai of Inside the Astros.

Astros can follow the Dodgers lead with Alex Bregman's contract

Shohei Ohtani signing a contract worth $700 million to join the Los Angeles Dodgers was surprising enough. Ohtani having $680 million of it deferred was another level of insanity. He structured the contract in a way to help the Dodgers continue to add as they try and win the World Series each and every year. Whether it's fair or not, it's legal and something that other players and teams could definitely consider pursuing.

Ohtani is making just $2 million annually for the duration of his ten-year contract. His CBT hit is a lot higher, but also nowhere near the $70 million people expected it would be. Just unprecedented stuff from Ohtani who is showing just how badly he wants to win.

With the Astros cash-strapped, signing Bregman to a contract with this similar structure gives them the chance to extend their window. It's unreasonable to expect him to defer a percentage close to what Ohtani did, but even if Bregman deferred half of his future contract that should be enough to help Jim Crane pay to keep him around.

What felt close to impossible might just happen thanks to Shohei Ohtani.

Next. MLB Rumors: Braves striking out, Ohtani spurned Giants, Soto-Yankees extension. MLB Rumors: Braves striking out, Ohtani spurned Giants, Soto-Yankees extension. dark