Astros’ extension candidates and discussion

Extension Discussion sounds like it should be one of those Schoolhouse Rock ditties, like Conjunction Junction. A good friend of the blog, Mr. Bill, could no doubt rip off a good riff on that one. But the idea of at least two Astros wanting to sign extensions has come to the forefront in the last week or so.

First, we had Astros’ shortstop Carlos Correa hinting around about getting a contract extension done before starting the 2021 season…

Then we had starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. almost begging for the same thing…

Talking about extension agreements is not all that Correa and McCullers, who become free agents at the end of 2021, have in common. They are both tremendously talented baseball players at premium positions, shortstop and starting pitcher. They are both due to become free agents while still well within their 20’s. And they both have a checkered injury past that makes the pricing out of an extension a difficult risk-filled adventure.

The positive thing about discussing an extension is that there should be some money to play with for the Astros unless something happens unexpectedly. There is $57 MM coming off the books between Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, with only $74 MM committed in contracts for next season. Correa is getting $11.5 MM this season, and McCullers is receiving $6.5MM.

The reason it may be tough to come to an agreement before the season starts is the most basic reason….how do you figure out what they are worth in the future based on what they have done in the past?

  • McCullers – Do you pay him based on his excellent bookend 3.22 ERAs in 2015 and 2016? Do you pay him based on never pitching more than 130 innings in a year? Do you take into account him missing (and being paid for missing) all of 2019 after Tommy John surgery? Do you pay him for the guts he showed in pitching through an ailing elbow before the TJ surgery? Do you pay him for a solid comeback from the TJ surgery in 2020 (3-3 / 3.93 ERA)?
  • Correa – Do you pay him based on that Rookie of the Year season? Do you pay him based on the excellent 109 games he played in 2017 or the excellent 75 games he played in 2019? Do you pay him for the nothing he gave you in the other 53 games in 2017 and the other 87 games in 2019? Do you pay him based on his nothing special performances in 2018 and 2020? Do you pay him as an extremely talented shortstop at 26 years old? Do you pay him based on missing so much time with back problems and odd injuries like his broken rib from a massage? Do you pay Carlos based on an excellent performance in the 2020 playoffs and his claim that he “figured out” what he was doing wrong with his swing?

The over-riding bet is that neither of these guys gets an extension before the start of the season. Some folks may think McCullers might have a better chance considering he will not be getting as big of a contract as Correa. Others may think Correa might have a better chance considering he is not represented by Scott (can you say Jackie Bradley Jr.) Boras.

In the end, it is at least a nice thing to hear that these athletes would like to stay in Houston after what has happened lately to the other sport’s teams in H Town.


25 comments on “Astros’ extension candidates and discussion

  1. Well, Lance is the starter tomorrow. There begins the look at how he is doing in his effort to gain an extension.
    I agree with Dan that getting extensions before the season starts is a ploy to get the cart to pull the horses. You want an extension? Get yourself some baseball leverage by going out and raking in the regular season. Right now both of them are bringing flowers and wine and trying to talk their way in the door.
    Prove something first and then it’s up to the Astros to come courting with an offer that gets snatched up.
    I’m sorry, but 2020 at 29-31 left a bad taste and I need to see some greatness before I shell out a long term deal.


  2. Apologies to Maurice Williams and the Zodiaks, But I couldn’t resist . . .

    [Houston Fans shout]: “PLAY!”
    [Houston Fans shout]: PLEASE!
    [Crane resumes]:
    UH, YA; UH YA
    If the union don’t mind . . .
    And your agents don’t mind . . .
    You know our money spends fine; go on and sign the dotted line!

    OH, OH, Won’t you Play- ay- ay . . . just a little bit LONGER!
    Oh, Please, please LET ME HEAR . . . YOU SAY YOU WILL! [SAY YOU WILL!]
    C’mon, c’mon, c’mon STAY! C’mon, c’mon, c’mon PLAY!

    Won’t you hang your cleats up on our wa-aw-aw-aw-all –
    & let us douse you with champagne ev’rFa-aw-aw-aw-all!

    OH, OH, PLAY . . . Just a little bit longer!
    Oh, Please, please LET ME HEAR . . . YOU SAY YOU WILL! [SAY YOU WILL!]
    C’mon, c’mon, c’mon STAY! C’mon, c’mon, c’mon PLAY!

    [For those who are too young to get this watch Maurice’s story . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man – can’t give enough thumbs up for this….
    I think that was the shortest #1 hit ever???
    I also liked the live version by Jackson Browne and his band.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Mr. Bill: My psychologist called. I was humming the tune you gave us. The good doctor is clearing his calendar and wants me to come in tomorrow. He suspects a psychosis.


  4. I like Lance McCullers, Jr. I always liked him. I would like him to get an extension. I think one could be fairly reached based on what both parties expect in the future.
    LMJ has never been an ace. If he would settle for a salary befitting of a #3 pitcher, which I think would be a fair assessment, I think a four year deal would really fit.
    I don’t think you could work long term deals for them both and I don’t believe we would be able to afford Carlos and LMJ and Bregman and Altuve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can’t argue with any of this. And when Lance is on, he is ON.

      And if this team loses Carlos, JV, Greinke, El Machete, and LMJ in one year, to think the team won’t decline is a dream.


    • A couple thoughts….
      – JBJ sure came down from his 4 year contract demand – a two year contract for $24 MM where the second year is a player’s option – he can opt out into the open market next year if he performs well
      – The signing of Lance McCullers to an extension depends a lot on his relationship with Scott Boras. Boras will push for his clients to hit the open market, but if the player directs him to do something he will have to acquiesce. I agree that he should get money and years like a 3rd man in the rotation, but whether LMJ and Boras and Click can agree on what that looks like is another story.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, Next Man Up did not take long!
      Whitley will never have a clearer path to a starting job in the majors than right now. This will surely test the truth of the statement that Whitley was going to be called up last fall, had he been healthy.
      I’m pulling for the young man to make it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a bitter pill. But nerve damage might screw up a career. They’ve got to fix that left hand right. Framber has grown so much over the past couple of years. Shows up in great shape ready to take on a leadership role in the rotation. A routine comebacker derails him in his first outing. Baseball, like life, is fickle.

      But we’ve got other guys. Wonder how Abreu is looking on the mound? Still thinking about Joe Musgrove though. 4.5 might have been a good spend.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Today is the county livestock show. I have four granddaughters showing 17 animals. It is probably the longest and hardest day of their lives and it will definitely test my stamina, too.
    And all I’m doing is watching.
    I am fixing to put my faith in the science. Going out by choice for the first time in a year.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lance Raley Ivey Martes Paredes Garza even Kit Scheetz pitched well. Great to see Tyler Ivey go 2 innings! Can’t say that enough. With the addition of Austin Hansen showing out, that’s two really strong surprises. Now imagine Martes contributing.

    I heard McCormick got a 2-run single, that gets him neck & neck with Souza. Siri also hit a bomb tonight. Not to be outdown in the 4th Outfielder race, De La Cruz got the last Astros AB, bases loaded worked the count full, fouled off a good pitch, then hit 2-run single to CF to finish off the Cards 14-0.

    Zach Daniels got to play tonight, and Korey Lee hit th ball hard twice!

    Hey wouldn’t it be fun to see Hunter Brown, and Alex Santos? I suppose Garcia needs some work soon if he’s going to contend for SP5. He’s a guy who I figured deserves a roster spot, but that they’d stick him in AA first. I’d rather he just dominate as he did in Fay’ville and never look back!

    Ford said Alvarez has been hitting in batting cages on back fields last 2 days, and said looks good.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eight pitchers now out for health and safety protocol and a starter out with a fractured finger.
    And yet, not a whisper of when we will see Forrest Whitley pitch even one inning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hope your grandkids and you all fared well yesterday, Op.
      Forrest should get in soon. 12 others without a whisper too.

      Solis, Solomon, Garcia, Hunter and Alex III, then there’s Henley, Scrubb, Stanek, Smith, Velasquez from the Sox plus Seth Martinez we got from the A’s. They haven’t seen action yet.

      Can’t wait for Brett Conine myself..
      I’m getting Conine fatigue.

      Astros still found a way to get Martes Ferrell Blanco Emanuel Garza Sheetz and Hartman some time. Smart baseball to get those guys in, who’ve worked their tails off. If Ryan Hartman or Kit Sheetz ever don a professional uni, it will just go to show how well this team develops pitchers. Any one in this group would be a miracle! Think of the long, twisted and winding road for Riley Ferrell. How if not providence is he still pitching here?

      They amount to solid depth is what! When you’ve been watching them as long as me in the minors, it’s just a testament to all those they’ve withstood. So many pitchers who didn’t make it, and literally they are the epitome of AAAA.

      I tell you who is conspicuously hidden. Mercyhurst’s, Colin McKee. The guy dominated AA in 2019, and hasn’t really pitched enough since. He looked really good last Spring.

      Liked by 1 person

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