Altuve signing a prime step on a five-year run


The “D” word was used in the previous post (by me) in talking about the Astros’ future chances at building a dynasty. In truth, it is nearly impossible to evaluate a team’s chances beyond a few years. But just for jollies, let’s look at what might be involved in a 5 year run of championship contention for this Astros’ team, a run that would take them from the 2017 through the 2021 season. What types of challenges will be involved in that time period?

First assuming that the Jose Altuve five-year extension is announced, the following players would be under team control through that 2021 season:

So, season by season, what types of decisions need to be made, whose extensions to consider and is this team able to contend over even a 5 year period?

2018

The areas coming up after this season (that they might also address at the trading deadline) :

  • Do they compete with the league to chase free agent SP Dallas Keuchel? He has looked strong in Spring Training, he has had multiple injuries, and he will be turning 30.
  • What do they do with Swiss army knife Marwin Gonzalez? The trend this off-season seemed to undervalue one-dimensional sluggers, while more flexible players like MarGo would seem to have risen in value. If he repeats his 2017 in 2018, he could be pulling down $12+ million a year?
  • Can they convince SP Charlie Morton, who will be turning 35 next November to come back for more seasons and will they have to compete for his affections?
  • Do they pick up the $15 million option on C Brian McCann for 2019? He was a true leader for them in 2017, but he only played in 97 games for them and will be turning 35 before next season. Do they convince him to come back for less for a couple of years? Do they convince him to be a backup? Do they go young with catching or go outside for another veteran?
  • Do they try to bring DH/C Evan Gattis back? If he is working only as a DH and they think they can get similar numbers out of a Reed, Davis or White…probably not.

2019

The areas coming up after this season (that they might also address at the trading deadline) :

  • Do the Astros attempt to re-sign free agent SP Justin Verlander, who will turn 37 in the off-season leading into 2020? Probably not.
  • Or….do they attempt to re-sign free agent SP Gerrit Cole, who will only be 29 in the off-season leading into 2020? An attempt will depend on how he performs and what the other options are (Whitley, Martes, Paulino, Armenteros)
  • What about SP/RP Collin McHugh, who will be a first time free agent at 32 years old? He is an extra piece right now, but with the possibility of losing Keuchel, Morton, JV and Cole in the next two seasons, he could be a critical piece.
  • Should they exercise their $5.5 million team option on RP Will Harris? That may depend on whether his performance raises that $5.5 to 8.5 million.
  • Do they try to rehire new Astros RP Hector Rondon and RP Joe Smith?  Rondon will be 32 and Smith 36 by the time the 2020 season begins.

2020

The areas coming up after this season (that they might also address at the trading deadline) :

  • Do they chase the big kahuna George Springer or do they try to extend him before they ever get to this point? He has been the heart of this team and played like crazy when they needed it in the World Series. Will it matter that he will be 30+ for this first FA contract?
  • Do they say buh-bye to then 36-year-old Yuli Gurriel? Do they consider that he has less mileage on his body than the guys who’ve played a lot more games per season than he has?
  • Is Josh Reddick playing elsewhere while Kyle Tucker is playing here? Similar question about Jake Marisnick vs. someone like Derek Fisher.
  • What to do about Brad Peacock? By this time will he be starting? Still a swing man? Will he see a better chance to start elsewhere?
  • And finally will extending Ken Giles be a consideration before the 2021 season? Or will he fall by the way-side as a closer before this time?

So many other things could happen during these coming years, from injuries to domestic violence, from PEDs to trades to amazing youth pushing up from the minors. But this list shows how difficult it is to have continuous excellence in this era of rampant free agency.

What do you think will be the biggest and toughest decisions in the next few seasons that can affect the sustainability of Astros’ excellence going forward?

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103 comments on “Altuve signing a prime step on a five-year run

  1. A.J. Hinch picks up his phone and dials a number provided to him by Strom. Two rings. A sleepy voice answers.

    Thornton: Huh? It’s four o’clock in the morning.

    Hinch: Yeah, I know. Hey, is this Thornton?

    Thornton: Uh . . . yes – or it will be after I have a cup or two of coffee. Wait a minute . . . is this . . . . HINCH?

    Hinch: Yeah, yeah, son – whatever. Hey look, over at the big league camp we’ve got a split squad day scheduled for today, and we need another starter. Strommy says you are ready. He calls you ‘Thor’ – and says he’s teaching you to throw a mean ‘hammer ball’. I can’t wait to see it. So, what do you say – are you up for it?

    Thornton: Right! Okay, Armenteros, or Paulino, or Rodgers, or whichever idiot in minor league camp this is – ha! ha! Real funny! You ought to be on Kimmel! But I’m going back to bed now.

    Hinch: Who the Heck is Armenteros? And didn’t you hear – Mr. Rogers died! Come on, son, I don’t think you are hearing me. The club really needs you. Are you up for it or not?

    Thornton: Right! I know that’s you Jack Mayfield! I’m going to hammer ball you, jerk!

    Hinch: That’s the attitude I like, Thor. Just carry that spunk with you all day -cause your mound opponent will be Lance Lynn. The bus leaves at 9:30. And how does the number 99.5 sound?

    Thornton: Coffee!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Josh Reddick enters the clubhouse at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, adorable puppies in tow. Evan Gattis is waiting for him, bat in hand. A tense lumberjack and WWE champion conversation ensues:

    Gattis: Dude, what’s with the triples all of a sudden? Have you been watching highlight reels of my 2015 year again?

    Reddick: 2015? You do realize that 2015 was a long, long time ago, don’t you, Mr. Big Bad Bald Man? I don’t have a VHS player to watch old highlight reels. Were yours from 2015 narrated by Harry Carey . . . or Howard Coselle?

    Gattis: I’ll have you know that I hit 11 triples in 2015. Not many players in the major leagues have accomplished that, you long-haired freak!

    Reddick: What – do you think you own some kind of a trademark or patent on triples now? Go sit down and rest, Old Man – while I go out and hit 11 triples in spring training!

    Gattis: I guess you think your stupid little bulldogs are cuter than me, too!

    Reddick: Shut up about my puppies or I’ll belt you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FYI – I have the post on the 2018!Angels ready to go – it has been a very busy week at work after a vacation week – so just catching up. Will be working on the other division rivals in the next few days.

    Liked by 2 people

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