Go ahead and cross Jose Altuve off of your possible trade target list, teams that need a second baseman: he's staying in Houston. The diminutive Altuve signed a four year contract extension with the Astros that will pay him $12.5 million over the life of the deal. The contract also contains a pair of club options for $6 million in 2018 and $6.5 million in 2019, meaning that the deal can pay out a total of $25 million over six years. It'll buy out all of his arbitration years and potentially his first two years of free agency if the options are exercised.
If you want to talk about a win/win deal, it's this one. Houston locks up a 23-year old through nearly all of his prime, and Altuve gets financial security as well as another opportunity to cash in after 2019, when he'll still just be 29-years old.
Let's put this in perspective for a minute. Houston paid Carlos Lee $18.5 million last year to accrue 0.3 fWAR for them in 66 games, and -0.3 fWAR for the Marlins in 81 games. They'll be paying, at most, 35% more than that over the next six years for Altuve, who was worth 1.7 fWAR last year as a second baseman. Altuve's bat won't remind anyone of Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, or Aaron Hill, and his glove won't be compared with that of Darwin Barney, Brandon Phillips, or Pedroia, but he's making a fraction of what all of those players (except Barney) will be making. I mean, the Braves are paying Dan Uggla more money in each of the next two seasons than Altuve will make cumulatively over the next four. Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks will make nearly as much as Altuve in each year of his contract as Altuve makes in total before either of the options kick in.
Yeah, Altuve isn't Cano, or Pedroia, or any other top tier second baseman you can think of. But he's also not Mark Ellis, or Ryan Flaherty, or Chris Getz, guys that can't do anything out there. Plus, he's still just 23. Remember when people were upset that the Astros weren't spending money just for the hell of it? Contracts like Altuve's are exactly the type of contracts that Houston should be looking to sign, not blockbusters like Josh Hamilton's with the Angels or high-priced veteran deals like Shane Victorino's in Boston. Young, home-grown, cost-controlled talent is Houston's bread and butter going forth, and Altuve's extension shows a commitment to that model going forward.