The Houston Astros are in the midst of rebuilding, but while they’re rebuilding, they’re trying to obtain, develop and maintain the best young talent in baseball. The Astros began the “maintaining” process today.
There is a trend going on in Major League Baseball. Now a days, teams are locking up their best, young players early in their career so they don’t see free agency for a long part of their career. The Astros did that today with Jose Altuve. By no means is Altuve a superstar, but he is most certainly an asset for this team to build around. Altuve is now the face of the Astros franchise, and has been since the day he was called up. The Astros could have easily shipped Altuve to a new team for a big package of prospects, but instead, the Astros and Altuve have agreed to a four-year contract worth 12.5 million dollars. The contract has two option years so it could end up being six years, 25 million dollars when it is all said and done.
This deal is very team friendly. While he could have easily been shipped away for prospects, at some point the Astros have to build around a player, and they feel that player is Altuve. This deal creates a bit of a log jam for one of the Astros top prospects, Delino DeShields Jr. DeShields is, you guessed it, a second baseman. The Astros feel he is one of their better prospects, but with this new deal with Altuve, he could essentially be traded. I know that is looking too far into the future, but it is certainly possible. It is also possible that he moves around to a different position because he has the tools to play in the outfield. That will be something worth keeping an eye on.
There aren’t very many current Astros worth locking up long term, but I expect to see the Astros lock up Jason Castro, their All-Star catcher next.