The new Astros general manager Dana Brown recently chatted with Brian McTaggart of MLB.com and was asked whether they have begun extension talks with some of their younger players such as Kyle Tucker. “Tucker, we’ve been in conversation,” Brown said. “Some of the stuff was started prior to me coming. We had some talks with Tucker, of course, because it’s coming up on the arbitration hearing.”
The fact that the club is interested in extending Tucker is hardly shocking. For one thing, it was reported back in May that the club had reached out to Tucker’s camp but didn’t get very far at that time. That they are still interested in such an arrangement makes perfect sense as Tucker has only continued to cement himself as one of the league’s best all-around players in the interim. He launched 30 home runs last year and stole 25 bases. His 9.7% walk rate and 15.6% strikeout rate were both better than league average, leading to a .257/.330/.478 batting line and 129 wRC+. His outfield glovework was ranked as above average by all three of Defensive Runs Saved, Outs Above Average and Ultimate Zone Rating.
All of that taken together allowed Tucker to produce 4.7 wins above replacement on the season, per the calculations of FanGraphs. That was a slight improvement over the 4.6 he posted the year before. When combined with his 1.7 fWAR from the shortened 2020 season, he’s tallied 11.1 over the past three years, placing him 16th among all position players in that time.
Of course, that excellent production means that he’s likely set himself up for some strong earnings. He qualified for arbitration for the first time this offseason, with MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projecting him for a raise to a $5.6MM salary for 2023. He and the club didn’t agree to terms prior to the filing deadline, with Tucker submitting a figure of $7.5MM and the team at $5MM. The 26-year-old will be eligible for two further passes through the arb system in 2024 and 2025 before he’s slated to become a free agent, just a couple of months prior to his 29th birthday.
There haven’t been many lengthy extensions recently signed by position players in the 3-4 year service bracket, though there is one recent comparable in Sean Murphy. He is a catcher and two years older than Tucker, so it’s not an apple-to-apples comparison. However, he did produce 10.0 fWAR in the three seasons prior to agreeing to a six-year, $73MM deal with Atlanta in December, within range of Tucker’s 11.1 fWAR tally in that time. Moving up to the 4-5 year service class and we find another interesting comparison in Matt Olson. He produced 9.7 fWAR in the three seasons from 2019 to 2021 before signing an eight-year, $168MM extension with Atlanta prior to the 2022 campaign. He had earned $5MM in his first arbitration season with the A’s in 2021, which Tucker could potentially do as well, depending on the results of his hearing. Olson was two years older at that time than Tucker is now, as he was going into his age-28 campaign. Given Tucker’s youth and stronger overall results, he could plausibly ask for something topping Murphy’s guarantee right now and perhaps go beyond Olson next year. The huge gaps between those two deals highlights why Houston might want a deal done sooner rather than later.
For the Astros, their recent track record is mixed when it comes to their homegrown stars. George Springer and Carlos Correa reached free agency and signed elsewhere while Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez signed lengthy contracts to stick around. Brown, of course, just came over to the club from Atlanta, a club that has famously given out more extensions recently than any other. In addition to Olson and Murphy, they’ve also locked up Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II over the past few years. Perhaps Brown can bring that playbook with him to Houston, but it’s unclear if any of the recent talks have got the two sides close to any kind of agreement.
Say what you want about the Astros but they’re currently running their organization the right way. Locking up Alvarez was extremely wise and if they can secure Tucker for that money long term then they’re geniuses.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
I personally don’t like the Astros, but I sure like this dude
I am offended by anything that looks like a toothpick
Choke on it…
He’s a future 30-30 hitter and possible MVP in the next several years. Gotta give credit where it’s due.
Let’s see if Dana Brown learned anything from Alex Anthopoulos and get him signed to below market value.
Get Off My Mound
One of the few really likeable Astros players.
Jeremy Pena too.
Outside of maybe Bregman who isn’t likable on the team. Verlander is gone, Yuli is gone, Correa is gone. I like Bregman, but I could definitely see how he could rub some people the wrong way. But, honestly he’s a great guy and not many people work harder at their craft then him.
I say let Bregman and Altuve fight for the “Most Unlikable Position Player Ever, Thanks” award, also known as the MUPPET. Gladiator-style.
That’s a great acronym lol
The Astros are the villainous team to many people. But they sure can win, no doubt about it.
What has Altuve done to be unlikable? The guy has done nothing except hit and is the exact opposite of cocky. It’s very well documented he didn’t take part in the scheme Beltran brought to Houston. Instead of throwing his teammates under the bus he just goes to work every day and gets hits while hearing all sorts of insults that are completely undeserved. It’s crazy that he is hated at all.
Do you remember the smugness that Altuve displayed at the public ‘apology’ with Bregman and Jim Crane? His comments that day set my opinion of him. He has zero credibility to me. The ‘jersey’ incident was extremely suspect. I understand you may be an Astro fan jjd, and that’s fine, but Altuve and his poor attitude and deflection have influenced people that are paying attention.
This is not to say that he can’t work to “fix” his image to me, but it probably won’t happen overnight. Until then, he and Bregs are easily my most disliked players. Just my opinion after watching their audacity after the trashcan scandal in addition to previous shady circumstances. It’s ok that I feel this way; your team is still good.
The first apology was dumb. No denying that. But, to be fair how mad would you be if you were one of many teams doing the exact same thing, yet your team had to take the fall (due to Fiers going to the media)?
Did you see the players apologize in the locker room after that? Doubtful. Those apologizes seemed a lot more legit. None of them were rehearsed. Eventually you guys have to move on. People can only apologize so many times before they stop apologizing.
The jersey thing shouldn’t be suspect. It was investigated and the whole rumor was started by a random twitter account that accused Torres of using a wire the game before. You got played by the media, bud.
I have never heard one person say he has a bad attitude. Hate him because you think he cheated (he didn’t), but his attitude shouldn’t be your problem.
There is no changing your mind if that’s what you believe. The guy could donate his career earnings to you and you would still think badly of him.
Is this Jose? You care too much about what I think! haha. I ended by saying he can still fix his image, in my opinion. Aloha brah, be good.
The jersey “incident” is laughable. He did have a fresh tattoo. He didn’t run off the field immediately to take it off. I’ve see the tattoo and it’s on the front of his shoulder. Altuve gets trashed for the cheating (even though he didn’t participate) because he’s the face of the franchise.
All the while–NO ONE says a thing about the glamour team Boston Red Sox who did the exact same thing and were caught doing it for the 2018 title. No one on Boston was punished, save for the video guy who was scapegoated. Boston wasn’t fined the maximum allowed. The team didn’t lose a single draft pick. Boston got to keep their GM. Their manager was suspended for a season based on what happened in Houston in 2017 and was welcomed back with open arms by Boston and all of baseball the next season. But Boston is a glamour team and allowed to get away with it, while Houston was an up and coming disrespected team that beat three glamour teams on their way to a title—where they hit better on the road and scored most of their runs at home with runners on and pitchers changing sign sequences almost every pitch.
The trouble may have been that Houston was punished the most because the cheating was so blatant and egregious. Banging on garbage cans. Which leaves a permanent record on the game tape. For Manfred and all of baseball to be embarrassed about until the end of time because it’s sitting right there on YouTube. If only Houston cheated with a little more discretion, with electronics that didn’t leave such a permanent record, something a little more hush-hush…then perhaps Houston would have skated by like all the other teams. Houston got scapegoated because they cheated in such an idiotic, obvious, and crude manner.
Tony Gwynn would have loved Altuve, dude.
There was no buzzer.
Reggie Jackson loves him.
Young man, learn how to hit a high fastball. Then we can talk about an extension.
Fortunately for him I doubt he has any wish to talk to you, Buff Barnacles, about anything.
He’s an elite hitter. Extending him is a no brainer.
If his 3 arb years are in ballpark of 35mil, could see 7/115 extension offer for locked in security. Abreu and Altuve off the books when his arb years are over for nice rolling transition.
Feels too low… maybe 6y/120MM and even that feels team-friendly…?
One of the best players in the game. Very few people talk about him outside of Houston…
As has been typical of Astros players since 1962…Shameful that Nolan Ryan never won a Cy Young.
He batted .257. Not elite yet. Hope he gets extended for Alvarez type money as he offers less at the plate and more in the field. Good clubhouse guy but so was Springer and we’ve done ok without him.
Refresh my memory. What was the Alvarez money/deal?
6/119 I believe
There’s more to life than batting average. And nobody’s getting paid for being a good clubhouse guy lol. They’re getting paid for putting up the important numbers, like wRC+ and WAR. These GMs aren’t even looking at archaic stats like batting average.
Man, this guy has another big year, you’re talking big money
Dusty Baker is the only thing likeable about the Astros. If it wasn’t for Dusty, there would be even more disdain and indifference towards this team. Outside of Houston, I don’t see this team having much of a following. Do you see attendance go up at visitor parks just because the Astros are in town?? Maybe; in the sense that there are always people coming out to mock them as former cheaters. I don’t think this team will be able to fully recover from it’s sordid history until Jim Crane sells the franchise and all the stained players are gone.
You don’t watch many Astros’ games then. Every place they play there are Astros fans all through the stadiums, wearing their gear.
Get some new material. This is stale. But congrats on picking a most appropriate name.
You’d be surprised. Example: I’ve seen a person from the UK show support for the Astros on twitter.
Astros Hot Takes
There is a whole group on Twitter for UK Astros fans
Talk is cheap. The contract won’t be.
World Champion Astros have a following check out the attendance in Boston, New York, and LA when the Stros come to town!!
This guy deserves at least 5 years 100m