The Houston Astros’ next renewal contender isn’t so obvious

The next renewal contender on the Houston Astros isn’t so obvious.

The Houston Astros are going through a transition period of the franchise but aren’t ready to give up and give up the fight just yet. They lost Carlos Correa at free hand this offseason and didn’t bring too many new faces. The Astros remain one of the better teams in Major League Baseball. One reason for this was their ability to develop players from the smaller leagues.

One of those players happens to be a guy whose performance last year produced a somewhat overlooked renewal contender.

In the Astros player power rankings, he might not be the first to come to mind. However, it’s Kyle Tucker who should be next in line to earn an extension.

Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker made himself an early extension contender with last year’s performance

At 25, the fifth overall pick of the 2015 MLB draft began his journey to a big payday last year when Tucker finished a distant 20th in AL-MVP voting. The numbers he released include a .294/.359/.557 slash plus 30 homers and 92 RBI.

The Astros had been slowly giving Tucker a few sips of coffee in the big leagues. He received 72 plate appearances in 2018, another 72 in 2019, and finally 228 in the shortened 2020 campaign.

Tucker never really caught the attention of too many fans outside of Houston until last year. It was his first full major league season. He’s made his mark as a new starter for the Astros and should be well on his way to getting paid.

However, the urgency to strike a deal is not there. Tucker isn’t eligible for arbitration until next year, when he gets his first big raise and officially becomes a millionaire. Instead of going through the arbitration process with him every year, the Astros can just start talking to the young outfielder about an extension. They can buy up his arbitration time and lock him up beyond and even into his 30s.

However, a slow start for Tucker in 2022 should keep the Astros from actually pulling the trigger on lengthy renewal talks. They don’t reward players with rich expansions when they’re struggling like he used to. Tucker may need to prove himself again this year before any noise is made regarding some durability in Houston. Of course, the better he plays, the more he can rightly ask for.

The Astros have been hit and miss when it comes to long-term jailing of their players. Because they’ve been able to produce new talent like Tucker, it hasn’t hurt them in the standings.

Tucker will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season. Before he gets there, look for the Astros to make him a nice offer. The Houston Astros’ next renewal contender isn’t so obvious

John Verrall

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