Astros plan to offer Bregman extension: 'We know how good he is'

February 8th, 2024

HOUSTON -- Now that the Astros have locked up star second baseman Jose Altuve through the 2029 season with a $125 million contract extension, the club has turned its attention to third baseman , who will be a free agent after the 2024 season.

Astros general manager Dana Brown, speaking Thursday at a luncheon at Minute Maid Park to preview Spring Training, said the team plans to make an offer to Bregman, but said there is no timetable to do so. Brown and Bregman’s agent, Scott Boras, talked face to face about Bregman on Wednesday prior to a press conference in Houston to announce the Altuve deal.

“There’s really not a timeline on this right now and at some point, we will make an offer,” Brown said. “I think we both respect that and that’s pretty much the conversation. Look, we love Alex, we’d love to have him here. As far as a timeline, we just don’t have it, but we will at some point make him an offer. We know how good he is and how good he’s been for this franchise. It would be tough to look out at third base and not see that elite defense. And so at some point we’ll circle back and have those conversations.”

Bregman, who will be in the last year of a six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in 2019, started 161 games last season and was a Gold Glove finalist at third base. He slashed .261/.363/.441 with 25 homers, 98 RBIs, 103 runs, 28 doubles and 92 walks. He’s been a cornerstone player on a Houston team that has made the American League Championship Series in each of his first seven full seasons in the big leagues.

Boras said Wednesday that Bregman has told him he’s open to listening to what the Astros have to say. Bregman’s situation is quite different than Altuve’s, who expressed his desire to remain in Houston and who turns 34 this year. Bregman turns 30 next month and will be looking to maximize his worth.

Altuve’s extension was the third he’s signed with the Astros, joining a four-year, $12.5 million deal in 2013 and a five-year, $151 million extension in March 2018

“Jose did somewhat of a bridge contract because of the first contract he signed,” Boras said. “In Alex’s case, he’s more in a normal free agent dynamic that you would see age-wise. Obviously, that has more impact in the free agent market for valuation and length of contract and all those things. He’s a rather prestigious player.”

Brown has said repeatedly he wants to sign and retain Houston’s core players. So far, he’s been able to do that with starting pitcher Cristian Javier and Altuve, but Bregman could be seeking the kind of money and length of contract that owner Jim Crane isn’t comfortable to committing to. The Astros have continued to win despite letting George Springer, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Correa walk in free agency in recent years.

“Every one of these guys is a different situation,” Crane said earlier this week. “We’ll certainly visit with Bregman when the time comes and move onto the next deal. … We’ve got [Kyle Tucker] for two more years, so we’re just going to let him play and see how he does.”

Tucker, the All-Star right-fielder who hit .284 with 29 homers, 30 steals and led the AL with 112 RBIs last year, is a free agent after the ’25 season. So is 2023 All-Star lefty Framber Valdez, leaving the Astros with three impact players possibly reaching free agency prior to the end of next season. That will present a challenge for the Astros to keep some of their core players together.

“We have those guys at least through next year,” Brown said. “We’ve been more thinking in our thought process with Bregman. I’ve talked also with Tucker’s agent, but we haven’t gotten into anything serious. We let him know [that] we got him through next year, but at some point, we’re going to have some conversations. … Bregman is the guy that at some point we’ve got to make an offer and have some conversations.”