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The Houston Astros locked in second baseman Jose Altuve with a five-year, $125MM extension, ensuring his place on the team for the foreseeable future. This move came after months of speculation about Altuve's future as he was set to reach free agency soon.
The Astros locked up one franchise icon yesterday, perhaps for the remainder of his career, when signing second baseman Jose Altuve to a five-year, $125MM deal that runs through his age-39 campaign.
However, negotiations for third baseman Alex Bregman are more complicated due to his age and position. Bregman is currently entering the final season of his contract extension and will become a free agent soon. The Astros intend to make a long-term offer to Bregman, but owner Jim Crane acknowledged that Bregman's circumstances are different.
While Crane candidly stated that the organization will "definitely" make a long-term offer to Bregman before he reaches the market, he also acknowledged that Bregman's age makes him "a little different circumstance."
The discrepancy in age and position between Altuve and Bregman affects the market expectations for their contract negotiations. Third basemen have historically commanded higher salaries than second basemen, and Bregman's potential free agency at a younger age opens the possibility of a longer, more lucrative deal. The largest recent deals for second basemen pale in comparison to those for third basemen in terms of value.
That gap in age sets vastly different market expectations - as does the difference in position. In recent offseasons, the market hasn't rewarded pure second basemen at nearly the same levels as third basemen. And with Bregman hitting the market prior to his age-31 season, a deal ranging from seven to nine years in length seems plausible in a way that simply wouldn't have been the case for Altuve entering his age-34 season.