Astros GM Dana Brown provided an update on his efforts to extend members of the club’s core while speaking on a radio broadcast this afternoon, as noted by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Brown acknowledged that the club is in extension negotiations with Casey Close, the agent of Houston outfielder Kyle Tucker, saying, “We’re optimistic. We think we can get something done.” while also acknowledging that any contract discussions would likely be tabled if a deal was not in place by Opening Day. Brown also mentioned that the club has begun discussions with left-hander Framber Valdez and his agent about a potential extension, as well.
Brown has been unusually candid publicly about his efforts to extend several members of the Astros core, having made public comments regarding a desire to extend not only Tucker and Valdez but also Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Cristian Javier. Of that group, only Javier has inked an extension thus far, though Altuve and Bregman are both under club control for the next two seasons, while Tucker and Valdez aren’t expected to hit free agency until the 2025-26 offseason.
Brown’s front office will certainly have the financial resources to get extensions done, as the club’s payroll situation leaves Houston plenty of room to maneuver. RosterResource pegs the club’s 2024 luxury tax commitments at just under $159.5MM, and though that figure does not include salaries due to arbitration-eligible players, even a significant raise on the $23.2MM the Astros spent in arbitration this year would leave them with plenty of room under their expected 2023 payroll, which stands at just under $218MM for luxury tax purposes.
More from around the American League…
- Sticking the the Astros, Brown also provided a health update on left fielder Michael Brantley that Rome also relayed. According to Brown, Brantley is still working his way back from the shoulder surgery that ended his season last summer, and while the expectation to this point had been that he would be ready for Opening Day, Brown has softened that expectation, now saying Brantley will be ready “a week into the season at the worst.” If Brantley does miss regular season time, Jake Meyers, Mauricio Dubon, and David Hensley are among those who could benefit.
- Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters today, including Bryan Hoch of MLB.com and Marly Rivera of ESPN that reliever Tommy Kahnle is on the third day of a 10-day shutdown from throwing due to biceps tendinitis. Boone said that imaging was done and showed that the tendinitis is the only issue Kahnle is dealing with, and he should be ready for Opening Day. That’s excellent news for the Yankees, as Kahnle has been a very successful reliever when healthy, with a solid 3.58 ERA (123 ERA+) and excellent 2.93 FIP in 161 innings since the start of the 2017 season. That being said, “when healthy” is the operative phrase there, as Kahnle has struggled with injuries in recent years, pitching just 13.2 innings combined the last three seasons. Fortunately, Kahnle’s current injury seems to be a fairly minor one.
- Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters, including Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, that outfielder Wilyer Abreu will “be out for a while” after he sustained a left hamstring strain. Abreu was not seen as likely to make the Opening Day roster given he has yet to play above the Double-A level in his big league career, but as a player on the 40-man roster, it’s possible he reaches the big leagues at some point this year once he manages to return to the field.