Astros lock in 'core piece,' extend Javier through 2027 season

In first major move as new GM, Brown exemplifies plan to sustain club's success

February 11th, 2023

HOUSTON -- , the right-hander whose breakout 2022 season saw him dominate in the playoffs while helping lead the Astros to the World Series title, was signed to a five-year contract extension by the club on Friday -- the first major move for new general manager Dana Brown.

The Astros didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, but a source told that Javier will receive $64 million in a contract that will take him through the 2027 season. He was signed for a $10,000 bonus during the international signing period in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic.

With this extension, Houston secures the 25-year-old righty through the remainder of his arbitration years as well as the first two seasons he would have been eligible for free agency.

The signing of Javier, who was scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing with the Astros on Friday, comes one day after Brown said he was going to be aggressive in signing some of the team’s younger players, including Javier and outfielder . Tucker lost his arbitration case Wednesday and will be paid $5 million this year, instead of the $7.5 million he sought.

“Cristian is an outstanding pitcher, so we are really excited about signing him to a long-term deal,” Brown said in a statement. “As a core piece of our rotation, we felt that he is the perfect candidate for this type of deal. This is in line with our vision to try to lock players up to sustain our success both now and in the future.”

Brown and Javier will be made available to discuss the deal Thursday at the team’s Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. Pitchers and catchers are set to report Wednesday. Javier is on the roster for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Javier opened last season in the Astros' bullpen, but he was moved to the rotation when the club decided to go to a six-man rotation. He went 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA in 30 games (25 starts) in the regular season, holding opponents to a .170 batting average while striking out 11.74 batters per nine innings.

In the postseason, he appeared in three games (two starts) and was 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA while striking out 16 batters and allowing two hits and one run in 12 2/3 innings. He threw six no-hit innings in a combined no-hitter in Game 4 of the World Series in Philadelphia -- the first no-hitter in the Fall Classic since Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees in 1956.

Javier also started a combined no-hitter in the regular season, which came June 25 at Yankee Stadium when he threw seven no-hit innings against the Yankees in a 3-0 win. He struck out 13 batters.

Brown, in a press conference to preview the start of Spring Training, said Thursday he was working on signing franchise cornerstones and to extensions, in addition to Tucker and Javier. Brown, who spent the previous four seasons as the vice president of scouting with the Braves, has stressed the importance of retaining core players -- much like Atlanta has been able to do recently with extensions for Michael Harris II, Spencer Strider, Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Sean Murphy, Ronald Acuña Jr., and others.

“You guys will realize that we are getting closer to [signing] some of our guys,” Brown said Thursday. “At the end of the day, that’s an important part of what we do, and coming from Atlanta we did that well. We probably handed out more years than anyone in baseball, if you did the math. That’s a big part of what we should do. We owe it to the fan base to keep the players in the city.”

Recent contract extensions handed out by the Astros include Altuve (five-year, $151 million deal in March 2018), Bregman (five-year, $100 million in March 2019), (five-year, $85 million in March 2021) and (six-year, $115 million in June 2022). Those deals were negotiated under previous GMs, but Brown is quickly trying to make sure the Astros’ core stays together.

“I hate to see good players walk out the door,” Brown said.