Bregman signs 5-year extension with Astros

March 22nd, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was perhaps the only time hasn’t looked comfortable on a baseball field. Bregman would clearly rather be playing baseball than talking about baseball, but he was willing to make a $100 million exception Friday.

On a sun-splashed afternoon on a back field at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Astros announced they had signed Bregman to a five-year, $100 million contract extension that will keep him a member of the Astros through the 2024 season, when Bregman will be 30 years old.

The club made the announcement with owner Jim Crane, president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow, manager AJ Hinch and Bregman sitting side-by-side at a dais, with Bregman’s Astros teammates watching from the back.

“I wanted to play here,” said Bregman, who posted a pair of videos on Twitter thanking Astros fans for their loyalty. “I didn’t want to play anywhere else. I wanted to be in orange and blue for as long as I possibly can. I love this organization, I want to win here for a long time.”

Bregman, who’s already under contract for 2019, received a $10 million signing bonus and will be paid $11 million in 2020-22 and $28.5 million in 2023-24, which would have been his first two years of free agency. The contract includes escalators depending on where he finishes in the Most Valuable Player Award voting, as well as other award bonuses.

“I remember when we drafted Alex with the No. 2 overall pick [out of LSU in 2015], we thought he had a chance to get to the big leagues pretty quickly, and we thought he had a chance to be a pretty special big league player, and we were right,” Luhnow said. “A lot of credit goes to our scouts and player development people, but most of the credit goes to Alex for making that a reality.”

One of the game’s brightest young stars, Bregman, who turns 25 on March 30, is coming off a breakthrough season in which he led the Astros in nearly every offensive category and was named to his first All-Star team. He hit .286 with 51 doubles, 105 runs, 31 homers, 103 RBIs, 96 walks and a .926 OPS, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to hit 30 homers. He finished fifth in American League MVP Award voting.

“He’s got the it factor when it comes to baseball,” Hinch said. “He’s a baseball brat, like 24/7, 365. It’s authentic. It’s real. He works, he’s got ways to get better. Today’s a big day and everybody will think he’s a finished product, but he’s not. He’s continuing to get better, and there’s areas he could get better and continue to be elite.”

The contract, tied for the second-largest in franchise history behind Jose Altuve’s five-year, $151 million deal last year, had been in the works for months. Bregman expressed a desire at the end of the season to remain in Houston, and agent Brodie Scoffield negotiated on and off with Luhnow throughout the offseason.

“Alex doesn’t have a lot of patience,” Scoffield said. “Once he sets his mind to something, he wants it to happen the next day.”

Bregman’s contributions on the field are one thing, but he’s growing into a larger-than-life presence in the Houston community. He’s charitable and shares insights into his personal life through social media and his YouTube channel. In short, he might already be the Astros’ most popular player not named Altuve.

“Everybody feeds off of Alex, he’s got a great personality,” Crane said. “He comes to the ballpark every day ready to play, and he leads by example. He worked hard and fits in well with the rest of our guys, and that’s really what you’re driving for as an organization -- those kinds of guys working together to win ballgames. He’s come in and done that in spades, and we’re just happy to have him locked up for a while now.”

Scoffield joked that Bregman probably expects to win six World Series titles in the six seasons he’s under contract with the Astros. The sentiment, perhaps unrealistic, is authentic. Bregman’s best is yet come.

“It’s been an honor to be able to put on this uniform every single day for the last few years,” he said, “and we look forward to doing it for the next six.”