Was Yordan paid enough? Will Tucker get more?

The Astros officially announced the 6 year/ $115 MM extension of Yordan Alvarez yesterday, a deal that was unofficially leaked over the weekend. The Astros bought out the three seasons of Alvarez’s arbitration and the first three seasons of his free agency.

The deal breaks down as follows:

  • $5 MM signing bonus
  • $7 MM for 2023
  • $10 MM for 2024
  • $15 MM for 2025
  • $26 MM for 2026 thru 2028 each

There has been a lot of back and forth on whether Yordan was had with this deal. For folks like us, we would say – just give me one of those years (or the bonus), and we would be happy, but this is the nutball world of baseball and finances. It is possible that Yordan could have beat these numbers by waiting and going to arbitration and then going to free agency. But suppose he had an injury or two along the way like he suffered in 2020. In that case, he could have been a bit underpaid in arbitration like Carlos Correa faced, as Carlos only made $24 MM in his arbitration years due to missing time, and Alvarez is guaranteed $32 MM plus the bonus.

This contract limits some of the risks for both sides. Yordan gets paid early (who knows what his family situation might be) and solidly and does not have to worry about anything but baseball for the next 6 and a half seasons. The team gets an excellent talent for 3 more seasons of control beyond arbitration without having to outbid the world for Yordan’s services. Then there is the whole argument about whether a DH should be getting the huge money, but as Yordan has shown lately, he is not a fielder like Chas McCormick or Kyle Tucker. He is not a Greg Luzinski out there either.

The obvious follow-up question is, will Kyle Tucker be extended next, and what would that extension look like? Tucker was in the same situation as Alvarez, as he is eligible for arbitration heading into 2023 and eligible for free agency heading into 2026.

Even though they’ve gotten there in different ways, it is easy to compare Yordan Alvarez’s and Kyle Tucker’s careers to date. Alvarez had a transcendent Rookie of the Year debut in 2019, basically missed all of 2020 with his knee surgery and has been primarily full time since then. Tucker had a bad cameo in 2018 and a good cameo in 2019 and has been close to a full-time player ever since.

Tucker has 174 ABs in 2022 and 1020 ABs in his career. Alvarez has 177 ABs in 2022 and 1035 ABs in his career. That is so close that we can look at them one to one, as shown below.

  2022/Career BA OBP OPS Runs HRs RBIs SBs WAR
Yordan Alvarez 2022 .288 .386 .997 35 16 34 0 2.2
Kyle Tucker 2022 .259 .356 .833 21 10 32 10 2.6
Yordan Alvarez Career .290 .374 .956 187 77 220 1 9.0
Kyle Tucker Career .272 .342 .852 162 53 181 38 10.2

By almost any metrics, Alvarez is the better hitter in 2022 and his career. Tucker’s numbers are quite good, but Alvarez’s stats are probably top 5 in the majors. The fantastic thing is when you go to the last column, which shows WAR, the overall value of each player. Tucker is shown as a bit better. This makes sense since Tucker has speed, as demonstrated by his 38 steals in 43 attempts (that is very impressive). And, of course, Tucker plays defense at near Gold Glove level, and he plays it basically every game. Alvarez plays about half the time in the field, and though improved, he is not in the area code of Tucker when it comes to fielding. Alvarez does have Tucker beat in one area that can’t be changed as he is about a half a year younger.

The bottom line is that Tucker should be getting a contract offer in the same range as Alvarez. Unless he decides to ride things out in arbitration the next three seasons following this one and jump to free agency at that point. Unlike Carlos Correa, Tucker keeps his thoughts bottled up, so there is no telling what direction he wants to go.

So, a few questions for you….

  • Who got the better of the Alvarez signing, or was it a win-win? (Or, as Michael Scott would say – a win-win-win?)
  • Would you attempt to early extend Tucker?
  • What do you think he is worth?
  • Do you think Tucker will be as likely to be interested in the extension as Alvarez was?

63 comments on “Was Yordan paid enough? Will Tucker get more?

  1. 1) I would say the Alvarez extension was a win-win. He likely would have gotten more $$ IF he stays healthy. If he is still healthy at the end of the contract, he’ll have a chance for another big payday. If he produces like he is doing now for three years and fades after that, he will have earned the $115M.

    2) The Astros reportedly discussed an extension offer with Tucker but could not come to an agreement. He probably has a lower ceiling / higher floor compared to Alvarez, and seems to be healthier and maybe will have a longer career.

    3) Based on WAR, since 10.2 is about 13% higher than 9.0, I would offer Tucker 6 / $130M.

    4) Only Kyle knows that answer. I’m sure it depends on the years and $$ offered. I have a feeling he will be content to wait until he hits free agency.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well reasoned discussions Astro Nut. They will probably approach him every year and if Tucker has a down or injured year, he might be more willing to settle.

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  2. Yordan’s agency is not a slouch operation. They’ve signed big contracts. The more Yordan makes, the more they make. At the end of the day though, Yordan decides what’s best for him and his family. And he might well get a much bigger payday at 31. But even now his family is financially secure for life.

    I thought the Astros have already had a round of discussions with the Tucker camp, so far without getting on the same page.

    If Tucker hits like he did in 2021, he’s worth somewhat more than Alvarez. He’s a 5 tool guy and is probably a lower health risk. And if he continues to produce and remains in good health, then he might well wait out free agency.

    I do not think Tucker is nearly as likely to extend with a similar deal.

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  3. I hope Alvarez doesn’t turn out like Bregman, getting his contract, then stinking it up [yes, I know he walks a lot. But you don’t pay people the kind of money he’s making to watch pitches go by instead of smacking the snot out of them.]

    I hope Tucker doesn’t turn out like Springer and that shortstop we drafted, leaving us for the big payday elsewhere.

    It’s a crap shoot. Spending money doesn’t guarantee quality – especially since the players’ union wont allow anyone to sign an incentive-based contract instead of a maybe-I’ll-play-If-I-Feel-Like it contract.

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    • Well the good part about it is that both players for however long they play here will be playing for a mega contract. Yordan will only be 31 when he is done with this contract. Tucker 28 if he doesn’t extend. They should be playing for something.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Since the start of the A’s series, Alex Bregman is 2 for 22 [.090 BA], with 2 runs scored, 2 RBI, 1 DBL, and no HRs. How much does he make per game?

    That ain’t workin’, that’s the way ya do it; stand like a statue waitin’ for a BB;
    That ain’t workin’, that’s the way do do it; money for nuthin’, hittin’ number 3.
    Jose’ and Yordan keep smashin’ long dingers;
    Even Maldy occasionallee-YEE!
    Alex is countin’ big bucks on his fingers,
    strandin’ runners every other AB!

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    • Yeah, Bregman is a mess. I’m one of those that thinks he’s not healthy, but I’m concerned he might not be fully healthy again. He can’t run. I also think his confidence is at a low ebb. And again, I wonder how much his numbers were inflated by the years we don’t want to talk about anymore.

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  5. Yordan with a critical 2 run homer in the 8th to give them a 3 run lead. Yordan also scored a run earlier. Tucker with a Texas leaguer for an RBI earlier and he’s on second after a walk here in the 8th.
    Watch these two terrific players lead this team for years to come.
    Verlander with another strong effort tonight.

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  6. Enmanuel Valdez was very quietly promoted from CC to Sugarland today. I had noticed that Valdez did not play Sunday and with Monday off for all the minor league clubs, I wondered if they might move him up and let him get settled in the Houston area.
    That is what happened. Valdez was first or second in almost every offensive category in the Texas League.
    In his AAA debut tonight he was 3 for 4 with 2 HRs. Max Muncy ruined the night for Sugarland with a winning walkoff HR in his rehab start off Paredes.
    Valdez played 2B.

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  7. And it won’t be long before Maddon is down the road in someone else’s dugout. Based on his interview yesterday, he was not inclined to own any part of those 12 losses in a row. Everything was cool in the clubhouse. They played some tough teams. They’ve had some injuries. Mikey is struggling. No worries. Indeed, he’ll get a new job regardless.

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  8. The bullpen may be our next concern. Taylor out with left elbow problems. Mushinski brought up in Taylor’s spot and he pitches one scoreless inning and then ends up on the IL with left elbow discomfort
    Bielak is brought up to take Mushinski’s spot
    Neris is suspended 4 games, but he is appealing it so he does not have to go on right away – but he will at some point and not likely to get it shortened after throwing two balls behind the Seattle batters and his “no comment” response to whether he was throwing at them.

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    • Maybe this will speed up the process of acquiring a solid lefthanded arm for the pen. No need to wait until the trade deadline if clubs are willing to deal now. It will not be cheap though.

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  9. Yordan got what I think was a team friendly deal, but he also gets certainty in his future. That money is more than anyone he knows in his personal life has ever seen, and the Astros get cost certainty on one of the 5 most dangerous people on the planet in a batters box.

    I do expect to see an even larger shift towards Yordan in LF than we have seen in the first third of the season. Brantley has spent the majority of the last few years in LF and Yordan at DH, this year they are about 40/60 but as we get into the dog days I think Dusty knows preserving Brantleys legs will only help them in October, especially as the lead expands in the AL West. Right now it appears we are going to run away with it.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with Yordan in LF 4 out of every 5 games – after all LF in MMP isn’t that challenging. Once every 3-4 games you have to deal with the corner, but a good CFer can help keep those to doubles or even flag a few down. Yordan running the bases scares me more than running down flyballs.

    Its fun to talk about what this does for Tucker, but stressful to management no doubt. No offense to Tucker and his base running, gold glove caliber defense in RF but Alvarez is clearly the better hitter. That’s not a knock on KT, Yordan is simply one of the 5 best in the world at it. I don’t think Tucker should get more, but I know his camp will stick to their guns about the defense and base running and durability and want more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah the Tucker situation comes down to perception and value from both sides. If Tucker’s side believes he will stay healthy and will perform as he has or better – it makes sense for them to hold on for either a bigger number for Kyle or for free agency.
      It could be a tough situation for the club. Will they hack off Alvarez if Tucker is given a significantly higher contract? What may happen is that they don’t extend Tucker for another year and perhaps buy out only 2 years of arbitration and 2 years of free agency. It will be an interesting window into what they are thinking.
      I agree that Alvarez’s batting statistics are elite – while Tucker’s are very good. You wonder how the Astros front office values hitting vs. fielding vs. speed. I think they do value the fielding side – they have continued to have a very good fielding team overall, which certainly helps the pitching staff and the whole team.

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    • I don’t want Yordan out in leftfield more than necessary. He’s played left 21 times this year and has already accumulated a -0.6 WAR out there. Brantley is a better outfielder. Neither is good. And Yordan has suddenly become a very valuable commodity.

      Yordan is clearly a better hitter than Tucker so far in 2022. But Tucker was the better hitter in 2021. Steven, I’m pretty sure you’re right about Yordan long term, but I’m not writing Tucker off yet. It’ll be a lot of fun watching these guys compete going forward. And I do think Tucker is more valuable.

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      • If we continue to command a lead like the one we have, I want Yordan out there. I don’t want another playoff series where I see Brantley ground into a 2nd baseman/shift every other at bat because his legs are not under him.

        Now if it starts tightening up – you might start seeing more changes in later innings of close games. What I don’t want is Brantley playing 60 games in LF in the second half – and the only way that happens and he and Yordan are in the lineup everyday is if they are flip flopped.

        It’s all a moot point because Dusty don’t care what we think. We will see what he actually does.

        I’m trying to enjoy the season without thinking about next – this is a flawed but still very good team because the pitching is as strong as we hoped and the offense can string enough things. The OF next year will be interesting – there isn’t a lot of help in the market – so you might see the Astros have to dip their toes in the trade market and the major league teams pitching depth – and no one really wants that. Negative defensive metrics aside there are more options to find a new DH than an OF right now – you might see a lot more of Yordan in LF than you want.

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  10. I don’t try to link Tucker’s money with Yordan’s money because it is James click who know what each player wants or wanted out of their future.
    Tucker is here at least through 2025 and that is a year past the contracts of Altuve and Bregman.
    Tucker may see his future as a guy who wants a contract longer than the 5 or 6 years that the Astros normally present and, if that is the case, the Astros already know how long Kyle Tucker is going to be around. It doesn’t change anything. What it does is give clarity to the Astros About the next five years or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One thing that does affect the Astros future is JV’s presence and his salary. He has a player option for 2023 of $25 million.
    If he is on the Astros in 2023 for that amount (or more), it will affect what the Astros have to spend next year to acquire or promote the players they will need to replace those who leave.
    One thing we do know is that JV likes it here.
    A thought occurred to me last night as I watched the gripping top of the 8th inning last night. Verlander was on the bench, watching Montero threaten his masterpiece by walking the bases loaded and Toro strides to the plate. We here all know the story of Toro’s HR and JV’s no-hitter a few years back.
    Harold Reynolds was commenting on ESPN when Toro stepped in with the bases loaded and he commented that Toro was fixing to break the game wide open. The other announcers went “whoa” at his comment. Toro hits a grounder to Pena, who makes a fantastic double play. Reynolds said he never thought Montero and the Astros would get out of that jam.
    Yordan homers in the bottom of the 8th and Pressley gets the save.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that 1OP. I did not watch ESPN, so I did not hear Harold Reynolds. So it is great when people that are paid tons that supposedly know more than me, strike out on their predictions. At least mine are not seen or heard by millions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • To be completely honest, that national Astro blog expert Dan P thought this was going to be a tie game with the bases loaded and one out. This included when Pena cut off the ground ball and had to reverse direction to get back to the bag and throw to 1st. I thought there was no way he was going to turn the DP but he did.

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  12. For what it’s worth, Baseball Reference lists similar batter comparisons for Yordan as Vlad Guerrero Jr and Willie McCovey. For Tucker, his comp is… Eloy Jiminez.

    BTW, All Star Game voting begins today. In my opinion, Yordan is clearly the best DH, but Tucker is not necessarily one of the three best outfielders in the AL this year.

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    • Tucker’s avg exit velocity is down 3mph from last season’s average. Yordan’s is above last season’s. Therein lies the reason for their difference in production. The ball has lees thump. But Yordan has overcome that and Tucker has not.
      Next year, I think they will both be helped by the limits on infield shifts.

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  13. Some stuff …..
    – The Astros have the third best record in the majors, 4-1/2 back of the Yankees and 1 game back of the Mets
    – The Astros have the best record outside the hell hole that NYC has become
    – The Astros have easily the biggest division lead in the majors – 9.5 games. The Yanks have the second biggest with a 7 game lead in the AL East. Toronto must be thinking – we are on a pace to win 97 games but we are also on a pace to finish 21 games behind the Yanks, who are on a pace for 118 wins??
    – The AL West and AL Central have 1 team over .500 and 4 teams under, while the AL East has 4 over .500
    – An Astro tie to the Joe Maddon firing. The interim manager is Phil Nevin, who was a former 1st overall pick for the Astros in 1992. He was a better player than most picked in that round except for Shannon Stewart and some nobody named Derek Jeter picked 6th overall by the Yanks. Ouch

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It was good to see Alex Bregman get a hit and score a run last night. Hopefully he is turning things around. We really need both our corner infielders to hit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bregs is contributing all of .219/.341/.721, with 6 HR and 28 RBIs. His BA is almost 60 percentage points under his career average; his OBP is 34 percentage points below his lifetime number.

      Yuli is sleepwalking at .217/.268/.616, with 3 HR and 15 RBIs. He is hitting way below his career BA of .288 and his career OBP of .332.

      If those two guys could just get close to their career numbers, we would have a pretty scary offense.

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  15. Urquidy’s pitching as of lately leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe he can be a trade bait for a reliever or catcher. Probably need to throw someone else in there

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  16. Has Gary Pettis forgotten the sign for stop
    – the ball got to the outfielder when Altuve was still a couple steps from third base – why did he send him?

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    • And does anyone know why we didn’t challenge Yordan being called out at 2nd on a short wild pitch. Reran it and it sure looked like he was tagged up on the leg when his foot met the bag

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Dan. I was in a restaurant and the game was on television. We all saw it and the entire group said that should have been reviewed. I don’t understand Baler’s managing most of the time.

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    • I think it’s clear the Astros don’t respect Winker’s arm and planned to run on him as much as possible. If Altuve hadn’t rounded the bag so wide and decided to look back behind himself to the outfield perhaps he would have been safe. It was a really poor effort on his part. I couldn’t see the on deck batter to know what they were telling him.

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    • Lots of base running mistakes all around the last couple of days. And I agree, why didn’t we challenge the Yordan play? We may be in 1st by 9 games but I’m still not crazy about the way the team is being managed.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I was watching Sports Map Houston today and they contend that it’s time to pull Bregman out of the 3 spot and move him down in the order. If Yuli and Bregman can’t find their stroke then I am not optimistic about October. Siri is now below the Mendoza line along with Maldy and Castro. Chaz needs to play almost everyday. He may not be the answer but he’s better than Siri and Dubon. What do we do when Odorizzi and LMJ return. Who do you take out of the rotation? We’re currently 9 games up but that’s no reason to sit on ones laurels. Need to widen the Margin so we can cruise and rest for the playoffs. Any ideas people?

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    • I wouldn’t move him yet. We are still scoring runs and winning games with him in that spot, and I would contend batting order plays more on a players psyche than actually affecting the overall offensive output. I would be afraid moving a struggling player tells that player the skipper has lost confidence in him, and he is probably already in his own head at this point. Now we go another 30 games and he is still hitting .219, might be a different discussion.

      With him and Yuli both struggling the question comes how would Dusty do it? We know he like his alternating L/R thing, and given the way the rules have changed about 3 batter minimums I don’t disagree with him. It definitely stops the idea that a lefty can come in and stop a Brantley/Tucker/Alvarez row of hitters, even if Tucker and Alvarez are OK against lefties they are still better against righties – and a lefty specialist that holds lefties to a sub .180ish average will be tough even on our two talented leftys. I think breaking that up with Bregman and Yuli prevents other managers from making moves like that in the 7th or 8th.

      Of course Yuli and Bregman have to hold up their end.

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      • I don’t always know what to think about Bregman. Altuve and Gurriel can kill us when they are make outs on first pitches…especially hitting into DP. Bregman sees a lot more pitches, but sometimes watches fastballs down the middle in situations where you would think he’d be aggressive. If he’s guessing offspeed and got it wrong, then it’s a good take. If he’s not guessing, then he’s decided before the pitch was thrown that he was taking. We shouldn’t see the third hitter in the lineup do that. At the same time, he may not be able to handle the best fastballs right now. Is it a health thing? A mental thing? He sure looked good the first week of the season…

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    • When Odorizzi comes back send Urquidy to the bullpen and send Bielak back where he belongs.
      Stop sitting your best player before an off day.
      Go get a catcher who can hit.
      Got get a worthy LH reliever.
      Bring Meyers back and send Siri down.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I still believe Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel can contribute offensively. But it is obvious that neither is anything close to ‘right’ at present. Both Alex and Yuli need to get a lot of ‘rest’. Until we get Taylor Jones back, at least, let Diaz play at 1st one night and at 3rd the next night, and see if regular playing time can get him back up in BA and OBP to around his career numbers [.268 BA/.322 OBP/.764 OPS]. That would let Bregs and Yuli’s beat up bodies a better chance to ‘heal’ in time for what we hope will be a long playoff run.

    As for Jose’ Siri. NO MAS, POR FAVOR!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Point #1, all 9 have to bat. So you drop a couple down, who do you put up. It is not like Maldonado/Castro are hitting 9th and posting a combined .340. Point #2. Siri swings and misses a bunch. As do all. But he will miss by 9-12 inches on many pitches. I don’t know what he is seeing or thinks he is seeing.

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  20. It’s hard not to be intrigued by Emanuel Valdez. If he has any ability in leftfield, I’d put him out there as much as possible. Bregman and Altuve are not going anywhere. But we do need a leftfielder in 2023.

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    • Just wandering if we think Brantley will be gone in ’23? He’s hit .300+ for the past three years and he’s currently at .280. Yes he’s no Spring Chicken but do we roll the dice on another “experiment”. Of course it depends if he wants to play anymore or what his price tag might be. I think he’s been a pretty good bargain so far. Maybe when we have the call ups and hopefully we’ll have a big lead, then we could do the experiment. That CF deal hasn’t worked out so far. And we don’t need another .220 hitter in the outfield.

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      • Fair point Zanuda, the Astros have just 5 guys producing offensively right now. Brantley is one of them. I’m not sure if he’s an .800 plus OPS guy at this point, and he struggles against lefties, but I’m glad we have him today. I’m hoping for some kind of upgrade in the outfield next year.

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      • I think Brantley will be gone. Among “qualified” left fielders, his .775 OPS would be sixth best in baseball. The problem is not all his AB have come as a left fielder. It really comes down to a couple questions that I can’t answer: what city does he want to be in, how much money does he target, and how important is chasing a championship? I think he’ll end up going somewhere that more comfortably can give him about a 50/50 split on OF/DH starts. The ideal situation would be to go ahead and win the World Series this year and not be overly concerned with his decision until after he makes it.

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  21. As we all know, stats prove exactly what we want them to prove. So here goes, Altuve (8 years in Minors including rehabs) .325. Enmanuel Valdez (6 years) .255, Yanier Diaz (5 years) .325. Marty Costes (4 Years) .274, Corey Julks (5 Years) .264. Jake Meyers (5 years) .274. J.J. Matijevic (5 years) .259. Jose Siri (8 years) .271. Chas Mc (4 Years) .278. And finally – just for comparison – Brantley (7 years) .302.

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  22. I am not a fan of the All-Star game – or any of its associated hoopla – at all. That said, I suspect we have two shots at first team selections: Yordan Alvarez and Justin Verlander (perhaps some bullpen arms as well). We don’t have anywhere close to the best player in the league [considering both offense and defense] at any other position.

    If selected, should they go? Yordan should probably go – just PLEASE DO NOT COMPETE IN THE STUPID, DANGEROUS HOME RUN DERBY! Justin is another story -as are the bullpen arms that might make it. I’d much rather see our pitchers take the time off, rest, and recharge for the rest of the season.

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  23. Tonight’s starter for the Marlins, Pablo Lopez, has been phenomenal this year. It seems that everybody we face has – or looks like they have when facing us.

    Here are Lopez’ impressive numbers so far:
    ERA -2.18
    WHIP – 0.97
    BAA – .196
    SO – 67 in 66 innings
    GO/AO – 1.38

    There is zero reason to expect our struggling offense to help Luis Garcia tonight. Meanwhile, though our record looks a lot better than the Marlins, their team BA [.247] is more than 10 points higher than ours [.235]. Their team OBP [.319] is 6 points better than ours [.313]. They’ve averaged 4.47 runs per game to our 4.10.

    Anything can happen between the white lines, of course. And the Marlins apparently are fairly adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But on paper it looks pretty bleak for our heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

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