Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker has quickly rebounded after a rocky couple weeks to begin the year, hitting .310/.402/.530 over the past month after getting out to a brutal .087/.192/.217 start through his first 13 games. That production only serves as a reminder that the 25-year-old is viewed as a building block in Houston. That fact is also backed up by the team’s apparent efforts to sign Tucker to a long-term extension. Mark Feinsand and Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reported recently that the ’Stros approached Tucker’s camp about an extension this year but talks proved unsuccessful and are not active at this time (Twitter link).
Tucker confirmed the report when speaking with Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Tucker tells Rome that he’s open to continued negotiations, whether they take place during the current season or in future offseasons. The former No. 5 overall draft pick noted that he’s controlled through the 2025 season regardless, leaving plenty of time for a deal to come together, though he did voice a preference to “get it out of the way if something does happen, just to not prolong [talks] over a long period of time.” Tucker looked overmatched as a 21-year-old rookie in 2018 but has batted .278/.345/.526 in 1036 plate appearances from 2019-22. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
More out of Houston…
- Lance McCullers Jr. hit a milestone in his rehab from a flexor tendon strain in his right forearm, telling reporters that he threw off a mound for the first time yesterday (Twitter link, with video, via FOX 26’s Mark Berman). McCullers prepped for the mound session by throwing from 90 feet on flat ground and then tossed “about ten” pitches off the mound. The righty still didn’t offer a concrete timetable for his return, replying that his next step is to “just continue to build” as restores arm strength and works toward a minor league rehab assignment. McCullers, 28, pitched to a 3.16 ERA with a 27% strikeout rate and 11.1% walk rate in 162 1/3 innings last season in what would’ve been his final year of club control prior to reaching free agency. However, he inked a five-year, $85MM extension to remain in Houston last spring, and the 2022 season is the first year of that new pact. He’s eligible to come off the 60-day injured list in early June, but considering the fact that he hasn’t pitched yet this season and is only just getting on a mound, he won’t be activated when first eligible.
- General manager James Click spoke with Alex Speier of the Boston Globe about his team’s decision to move on from Carlos Correa and entrust the shortstop job to rookie and top prospect Jeremy Pena — a decision he knew might not be universally accepted, given Correa’s popularity in Houston. “[The fans] loved Correa and they wanted to keep him,” said Click. “But we have tried to make it clear to our fans here that our priority is winning. We would love to win and keep everybody together. But sometimes you have to make a difficult decision to move on in order to try to keep that championship window open as long as you possibly can.” Pena has softened the blow by outproducing his predecessor for the time being and slashing .287/.343/.504 with seven homers and quality defense at short.