In 2023, during the regular season, Altuve told FanSided that contract extension talks with the Astros had not taken place. But Altuve was clear that he wanted to stay in Houston. Astros owner Jim Crane was adamant that he wanted Altuve to retire in Houston. When there’s mutual interest like that, deals are often done.
Which is why the five-year, $125 million extension for Altuve made all the sense in the world. But what does it mean for Alex Bregman?
Houston Astros: What Jose Altuve contract means for Alex Bregman, other stars
This was a rare case in which Scott Boras, Altuve’s agent, will do a contract extension before a player hits free agency. Boras prefers players to establish their values on the open market to get the most money. In Altuve’s case, it was a unique situation. He’s a franchise icon. He is, in the words of Crane, the “heartbeat of the team.” He’s played his entire career in Houston, having signed there when he was 16, and will allow him to retire with the team after the 2029 season.
In Bregman’s case, Boras admitted to Houston reporters that the star third baseman is “open to hearing what the Astros have to say.” But then said Bregman has “more of a normal free agency dynamic” compared to Altuve.
Which likely means that unless the Astros present Bregman with an offer that’s along the lines of what he would get in free agency, he’s likely to test the market after the 2024 season.
The other big stars on the Astros roster – Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez – are both in different situations than Altuve and Bregman. Neither are Boras clients; Tucker is represented by Excel Sports Management while Valdez is with Octagon.
Tucker has had previous conversations with the Astros about an extension. He is earning $12 million in 2024 and is salary arbitration eligible one more time before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2025 season. A contract for Tucker, who is 27, figures to be massive as he’s emerged as one of baseball’s best young outfielders – and could be challenging to keep him off the market.
There were reports that Valdez and the Astros were talking about a contract in 2023, but Valdez’s agent publicly denied that, and stated that there had not been any talks. Valdez does not become a free agent until 2026, meaning there is no rush for the Astros to do a deal now. Also worth noting: Valdez will be 33 by the time he becomes a free agent, which could shorten the length of any potential contract.
Altuve was the priority for the Astros, and every indication was that a deal would get done. But now is when the challenge really begins for general manager Dana Brown and the reality is that keeping this entire nucleus is going to be really, really challenging.