There has been a steady drumbeat throughout the MLB offseason to this point that the Houston Astros were eyeing a potential extension with one of their longtime stars, with most expecting that to be second baseman Jose Altuve.
Sure enough, with spring training just days away at this point, that's what the Astros have done.
FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray reported that the Astros locked up Jose Altuve to a five-year contract extension.
It's an extension that will keep Altuve with the Astros until his age-39 season, keeping one of the franchise cornerstones in the building for essentially the remainder of his career.
Jose Altuve contract details: Astros lock up star 2B
Per Chandler Rome of The Athletic, Altuve's new contract is worth $30 million per year for the first three seasons (2025-27) and then $10 million in the final two years (2028-29). There is also a $15 million signing bonus included with this extension.
It's a lucrative deal that will keep Altuve around for the next six seasons. However, it could also have some adverse effects. So let's unpack that and dive into the grade for the contract.
Jose Altuve contract grade
Given what Altuve has done for the Astros in his career since he debuted in 2011, it's no wonder that the organization was invested in keeping him with the club for the remainder of his career. He's a former AL MVP, an eight-time All-Star, a two-time World Series winner, and a true stalwart for Houston throughout his career.
The production has been there too. Altuve has slashed .307/.364/.471 for his career, including hitting .300 or better in each of the past two seasons. Even as a diminutive statured middle-infeilder, he's also provided some pop, hitting 188 home runs from 2015-23 over 1,154 games while also notching 278 doubles and 21 triples.
That all makes sense... but this deal is more complicated than that.
Houston could feel near-immediate ramifications of this deal. This isn't an organization that sports a ridiculous payroll routinely, which means that the Altuve extension could ultimately show the door to Alex Bregman and potentially even guys like Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker as well. That's obviously not good for the long-term outlook of the Astros given the value those players also bring to the table.
Moreover, they franchise is taking that risk for a player who, frankly, could age poorly. Yes, he's been a phenomenal hitter and solid defensive player in his career. But Altuve's stature would lend itself to the belief that the pop could disappear quickly. Moreover, he could also see his average start to dip as well as he gets older, which he will on a contract that ties him to the club until he's almost 40.
All told, this isn't a bad contract given what Altuve has done, even as recently as this past season. But with how the deal could age and what it could mean for the rest of the roster, it's hard not to have some reservations and give it a relatively middling grade.