The Astros and second baseman Jose Altuve have agreed to a four-year contract extension with two club options, the team announced on Saturday morning. Here are the financial terms according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com:
- $12.5 million guaranteed with a $750,000 bonus.
- $6 million club option for a fifth year.
- $6.5 million club option for a sixth year.
Altuve, 23, would have been eligible for arbitration from 2015-17 before becoming eligible for free agency following the 2017 season. This extension buys out his final pre-arbitration year and all three arbitration years. The options cover two free-agent years.
“Jose has quickly become the face of the franchise in less than two years, and we are excited to keep him here for many years to come,” said GM Jeff Luhnow in a statement. “He provides leadership both on and off the field and has become a big part of the Houston sports community.”
The Astros originally signed Altuve out of Venezuela in March 2007, when he was only 16. He hit .327/.386/.481 in 382 minor-league games before making his big-league debut in July 2010. Altuve has hit .284/.325/.377 (93 OPS+) in 290 MLB games and was an All-Star last season.
“I'm really happy to be a part of the Houston Astros organization,” Altuve said. “I just want to keep playing hard and help this team win games. I love my teammates and the people of Houston, and I'm going to do everything I can to improve and win baseball games.”
The signing represents the team's first significant contract under Luhnow, who has led a massive rebuilding effort since taking over in December 2011. The team has traded away nearly all of its noteworthy veterans for prospects over the last two years. The Astros opened this season with a $22 million payroll, the lowest in baseball.
“This contract is consistent with our strategy of developing and retaining the best young talent in baseball,” said team owner Jim Crane. “All along, I've maintained that we will make the necessary investments to create a winning team long term, and this is an important step in that direction.”
Altuve is listed at 5-foot-5 and 175 pounds on the team's official site, making him the shortest active player in the big leagues.