UPDATE: Literally seconds after writing this, Evan Drellich reports that Astros sources are refuting this. Stay tuned for more info.
UPDATE II: Passan comes back to say that deal is close, but not done. Both sides think it can get hammered out at five years plus two options.
On the heels of the George Springer kerfuffle, we get news that the Astros are close to locking up another one of their young players to a long-term deal. Here's Jeff Passan:
Sources: Astros, 3B Matt Dominguez closing in on five-year contract extension worth around $17M with two club options for ~$8M and ~$10M.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 20, 2014
Passan goes on to tweet out the following:
Astros continuing trend of giving players guaranteed money in hopes of striking big with under-market deals. Risk with Dominguez is bat.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 20, 2014
Astros have engaged OF Robbie Grossman and C Jason Castro on extensions too. @Ken_Rosenthal reported $23M offer to prospect George Springer.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 20, 2014
Dare I say that Bob Grossman may be looking for some...insurance?
Okay. Back to the topic at hand. The Dominguez extension is fascinating. The 23-year old is nearly as young as teammate Jose Altuve, who signed a four-year, $12.5 million deal last summer. Dominguez has hit .248/.290/.410 in 750 career plate appearances, but broke out to hit .241/.286/.403 last season with 21 home runs in 589 plate appearances.
Well, that doesn't look like a breakout, but combine his power with his excellent defense at third base and Dominguez seems to be a value for a little more than $3 million a year. As a reference, the only viable starting third baseman who signed last winter was Juan Uribe, who got $7.5 million a year.
The other interesting thing is who they also chose to engage about long-term deals. I'm a huge Bob Grossman fan, but it's nice to see the team believes in him enough to talk about an extension. He'll break out this season and it'll be nice to see.
We sort of knew about Castro being approached this winter, but he joins the list of guys the Astros hope to lock up. A potential wrench in the plan? What the Braves did this winter, locking up Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman for ludicrous prices.
That set the market, for better or for worse, that the rest of the league will have to deal with. You better believe Springer's agents have those deals as templates for his next deal, as will Jon Singleton's agents and Carlos Correa's agents. For a while, it will be very, very expensive to lock up young players.
In that sense, Houston got a deal with Dominguez. They're betting his bat will go the path of Ken Caminiti, who hit .247/.304/.348 in his first five seasons in the big leagues, but then hit .293/.368/.495 over the next five.
What do you think? Encouraging Houston is spending money? Sad they couldn't have done this with Springer too?