Astros sign Yordan Alvarez to six-year extension

12:48 p.m.: Alvarez’s contract breaks down as a $5 million signing bonus followed by annual salaries of $7 million (2023), $10 million (2024), $15 million (2025) and $26 million (2026-28), Houston’s Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (Twitter link). He has already had a physical examination.

12:19 p.m.: The Astros have agreed terms to a six-year, $115 million contract extension with Yordan Alvarezreports ESPN’s Jeff Passan (Twitter link). The contract starts next season and will cover the 2023-28 seasons. Alvarez is represented by the MVP Sports Group.

Alvarez, 25 later this month, was set to reach free agency after the 2025 season and would have hit the open market at just 28. Instead, his new contract will buy out his three officiating seasons and give the Astros control of what would have been Alvarez’s first three free agent seasons. Technically, Alvarez won’t reach three years of service in the Major League until tomorrow, but since the contract starts next year, it can effectively be considered the second biggest contract ever signed by a player in the service bracket of more than three years, behind only Freddie Freemanthe $135 million eight-year extension with the Braves in 2014.

Acquired in a burglary that sent a reliever Josh Fields at the Dodgers, Alvarez burst onto the Major League scene in 2019 when he smashed to a .313/.412/.655 pace and smashed 27 home runs in just 369 plate appearances. Despite spending barely half the season in the Majors (87 games), Alvarez was the unanimous American League Rookie of the Year. While he missed most of the 2020 season due to arthroscopic surgery that was performed on both knees, he was back strong a year later, hitting 0.277/0.346/0.531 with 33 home runs in 598 trips. to marble.

Since his major league debut, Alvarez has been quite simply one of the best hitters on the planet. He’s a career .287/.370/.576 hitter, and the resulting 156 wRC+ (indicating he’s 56% better than the average league hitter) sits just ahead Juan Soto and trails only Mike Trout (177) among all MLB qualified hitters during that span.

Alvarez achieved his dominance at home plate through a keen eye (10.8% walk rate), improving his bat-to-ball skills (his 17.6% batting rate is down from 25.5% in his rookie year) and, more importantly, knocking the ever-loving snot off the ball. As of 2019, Alvarez ranks third among the Majors in average exit speed (93.3 mph) and overall hard hit rate (54.2%), as well as eighth in barrel rate (16.1 %) by Statcast. He has taken that immaculate Statcast profile to new heights in 2022, as he currently leads the Majors in hard hit rate, expected slugging percentage and expected wOBA.

Although Alvarez is primarily a designated hitter and thinks he spends even less time in the field as he gets older, he still sees a good chunk of the time in left field. He’s recorded 155 innings there this year and 540 innings in 278 major league games. He’s not considered a strong outfielder, but hasn’t necessarily drawn Butcher criticism for his defense so far (-2 defensive points recorded, 0.3 ultimate zone rating and a most bearish -5 outs above average). No one will mistake Alvarez for a potential Gold Glove contender, but as an occasional option to give the Astros’ regular outfielders a break, he’s a passable enough option to rely on to make routine plays.

Alvarez is now signed longer than any other Astros player, surpassing Lance McCullers Jr.whose contract runs through the 2026 season. His extension gives the ‘Stros $107 million on the books next year before the offseason even begins and with several key arbitration cases (e.g. Kyle Tucker, Framber Valdez, Christian Javier) Address. Houston has committed more than $100 million through the 2024 season, albeit for a team that flirted with the luxury tax in 2021 and increased its actual 2021 payroll to $190 million last year. , it’s not a huge expense.

The Alvarez extension ensures that he, Tucker, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve will continue to anchor Houston’s roster through at least the 2024 season (when Alruve and Bregman’s contracts are due to expire). Young shortstop Jeremy Pena has given every reason to believe thus far that he can be counted among that core of hitters, and the Astros are hoping prospects like Pedro Leon, Colin Barbier and Korey Lee could possibly do the same.


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