Well, like we said earlier about Eugenio Suarez’s surprising extension with the Reds, more were probably on the way. But I’d be lying if I said I saw this coming:
AL MVP Jose Altuve nearing 5-year, $150-million extension (beginning 2020) with the Astroshttps://t.co/vY88Sx6c8u
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) March 16, 2018
The Astros have Altuve under cheap team control for this and next season already, so this would be inking him to a five-year deal for after he would have reached free agency. In other words, he’s getting paid now for his free agent years two years in advance.
In general, I’m not a fan of these kinds of extensions for players as they head toward age 30 unless you’re getting a clear discount on those free agent years. For a superstar, MVP like Altuve, he’s would almost certainly get more than $150 million guaranteed as a free agent (especially two years from now), and probably would top the $30 million AAV. So the Astros are getting something of a bargain here (relatively speaking), but they’re committing themselves to a HUGE amount of money two years before they would have to.
For Altuve, this sure looks like a great deal, even as he forgoes free agency (through age 34). As a guy who previously signed a team-friendly extension on which he blossomed as one of the best players in baseball, he now has guaranteed himself top tier money. He earned it. Good for you.
As for the broader impact, well, that’s a massive AAV to which star position players can point as the market on extensions on into their 30s. That is to say, for just one example, Kris Bryant’s market value on an extension annually is now essentially confirmed to be north of $30 million. Not that you’re surprised, but there you go.
And for guys who actually reach free agency – like Bryce Harper after this season, or Bryant if he heads there in four years – they will want quite a bit more than $30 million annually.