The Houston Astros may actually be rebuilding this time. The team with the smallest payroll in major US professional sports has actually reached an agreement with budding star Jose Altuve to keep him around long into the future. The talented second basemen is a fan favorite, and looks to be a cornerstone of the team’s efforts to finally become a winner.]
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal broke the news of the extension via his Twitter today.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 13, 2013
The deal is not the most lucrative, and perhaps Altuve would have garnered a larger sum in free agency should he have finished his contract on a hot streak, however the fact that the Astros have a quality infielder locked up for so many years is a major positive if you’re a Houston fan.
The short second basemen is an electric player despite standing at just 5’5″. His first season in the majors saw him post a stat line that included a .290 batting average with a .340 OBP. He also stole 33 bases and scored 80 runs on the year.
His season this year has not started off as strong as last year, yet are still quite good. He has batted .280 with a .317 on base percentage and has successfully stolen 21 bases so far.
Through keeping Altuve around with a long term deal, the Astros are showing a willingness to spend money that has not been present for some time now. The deal, worth a maximum of $25 million would actually exceed the team’s $24.3 million pay roll for this season.
Houston has talent if they are willing to pay to develop it. Rookie pitcher Jarred Cosart threw eight scoreless innings in his Major League debut, showcasing that this young team has talent. Whether or not the Astros actually decide to pay the money needed to keep and develop that talent into a winning baseball franchise remains to be seen. Deciding to keep Altuve around with a long term contract certainly looks to be a step in the right direction for the Astros.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express