Astros GM Dana Brown has been candidate in regards to the membership’s efforts to increase member of their core ever since he joined the membership final winter. Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the primary extension the membership signed below Brown’s management (a five-year deal for right-hander Cristian Javier), and longtime franchise face Jose Altuve agreed to a five-year extension of his personal simply final week. Whereas consideration has typically turned towards third baseman Alex Bregman as he heads into his ultimate yr earlier than free company and Houston brass indicates they intend to supply him a long-term extension supply earlier than he reaches the open market, Brown lately made clear that Bregman isn’t the one star hitter the membership plans to broach an extension with.
In an look on MLB Network Radio at this time, Brown informed hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette that the membership plans to debate a long-term extension with outfielder Kyle Tucker along with Bregman. Brown emphasised that there’s no particularly timeline for when these conversations will probably be held, although he famous that the membership has “a little bit more time for Tucker,” who gained’t be a free agent till after the 2025 marketing campaign.
That the membership would have curiosity in extending Tucker is hardly a shock. Brown recognized Tucker alongside Bregman, Altuve, and Framber Valdez as members of the membership’s core they had been hoping to increase final spring, although the membership faced gaps in talks with each Tucker and Valdez earlier than ultimately deciding to wait on participating with Altuve and Bregman till this winter. On the time, Tucker was coming off a stretch of three seasons the place he slashed .274/.341/.516 en path to MVP votes within the 2021 and ’22 seasons in addition to a Gold Glove award and All Star nod within the latter marketing campaign.
The value on Tucker’s providers figures to have solely gone up since final winter. The slugger’s age-26 marketing campaign noticed him slash a unbelievable .284/.369/.517 in 157 video games, falling only one house run in need of a 30/30 season. He led the AL with 112 RBI and earned his second consecutive All Star nod, the primary Silver Slugger award of his profession, and a top-5 end in AL MVP voting behind Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Julio Rodriguez. Tucker and the Astros managed to avoid arbitration final month by agreeing on a $12MM wage for the 2024 marketing campaign, although the edges did not use these negotiations as a car to discover a longer-term association.
With Tucker only one yr away from free company and coming off one of the best season of his younger profession, it may very well be a problem for the membership to increase the Excel Sports activities shopper. Beneath the possession of Jim Crane, the Astros have by no means given out a contract longer than six years, nor one which ensures greater than $150MM. Only one outfielder with an identical pedigree to Tucker have inked long-term offers with between 4 and 5 years of service time: slugger Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325MM megadeal with the Marlins almost a decade in the past, in November of 2014.
This isn’t to counsel Tucker ought to exceed and even meet the determine Stanton acquired, in fact. Age performs an vital function in a participant’s incomes energy as they method free company, a actuality that closely favored Stanton compared to Tucker. Stanton was on monitor to succeed in free company forward of his age-27 season, whereas Tucker will hit free company forward of his age-29 marketing campaign. What’s extra, his general offensive numbers pale compared to Stanton’s. Spectacular Tucker’s career-best 146 wRC+ in 2021 was, Stanton’s wRC+ for his whole profession on the time was a comparable 145, with an unbelievable platform season that noticed him slash .288/.395/.555 with a 161 wRC+ the season previous to the deal coming collectively.
Whilst Tucker can’t be anticipated to signal a deal in the identical realm as that of Stanton, it’s nonetheless tough to see Houston locking up Tucker long run with out exiting their obvious consolation zone given the success outfielders have present in free company in recent times. Former Astros outfielder George Springer landed a six-year, $150MM take care of the Blue Jays after coming into free company forward of his age-31 season with a profession wRC+ of 134, and extra lately Brandon Nimmo re-signed with the Mets on an eight-year, $162MM deal final winter after hitting free company a yr older than Tucker is slated to with a profession wRC+ of 133. Given Tucker’s youth and related offensive numbers, it appears probably he’d have a superb likelihood to beat the offers landed by Springer and Nimmo in earlier offseasons, at the same time as each gamers augmented their worth with the flexibility to play middle subject on the time of the deal.
Whereas the Astros, who’ve simply over $134MM in luxurious tax payroll dedicated for the 2025 season as issues stand, might actually afford to offer Tucker a prolonged contract, it appears probably that such a deal would require Houston to enter territory not but charted by the membership with their supply, an identical predicament to the one they face with Bregman. It additionally appears unlikely that Tucker would supply the membership a major hometowm low cost, given feedback from Brown final winter indicating that the Astros had been dealing with a bigger hole in extension discussions with Tucker than Valdez, neither of whom the membership finally got here collectively on a take care of.
Between the membership’s hesitance to supply star-level contracts all through Crane’s tenure as proprietor, Brown’s indication that Bregman is the membership’s precedence in the intervening time, and the difficulties the edges confronted in bridging what was probably a smaller hole final spring, there’s loads of obstacles dealing with Tucker and the Astros ought to they give the impression of being to increase their relationship long-term. Whereas it’s unimaginable to rule something out given the tough gaps golf equipment and gamers have bridged beforehand across the league, an extension for Tucker would absolutely require the membership transferring properly outdoors of its consolation zone when it comes to participant payroll. That’s notably true if a Tucker extension had been to be paired with a deal locking up Bregman long-term.