Jeff Luhnow can apparently walk and chew gum at the same time. Within minutes, Chandler Rome’s twitter account broke news of two extensions, one with Ryan Pressly, for 21 million + a vesting option, for 2020 and 2021. The other, much bigger deal, is with Alex Bregman, buying out the three arb. years (2020–2022), plus the first two years of free agency (2023–2024), for $100 million.
On the face of it, the Pressly deal is a risk for the Astros. Relievers are volatile, and Pressly, while dominant for 2.5 months last year, does not have a long track record. On the other hand, with Harris, McHugh, and Peacock close to being free agents, it’s good to have an elite reliever locked down for another three years.
Bregman gets nine figures and is now set for life. Everybody he loves is set for life too, assuming he doesn’t love eighty people. Sports are weird, and guys like Mark Prior never got a big contract after looking like the Next Big Thing. Bregman gets 20 mil AAV for five years before he’s even arb. one. It’s a rich deal, but he looks like he’d be a 30 million AAV lock for free agency.
The Astros have six bona fide stars: Altuve, Bregman, Springer, Cole, Correa, and JV. Now three of them are locks to be around after 2020. That’s called a core. Bregman will be 30 when this deal runs out. Something tells me that another extension might be in the works in three or four years.
From the Astros’ standpoint, it’s tough to see why they wouldn’t want to bet on Bregman. He’s been a borderline MVP, playoff proven, and also durable. If I were picking sides in a Space Jam game of baseball and had to choose between Bregs, Machado, and Harper, I’d choose Bregman. On the other hand, this isn’t a move to make him an Astro for life. He’ll be a free agent at 30.
This is, for Astros’ fans, great news. It stabilizes the team’s future. The FO is betting big on Pressly, but it’s also similar to the deal for Scott Feldman from 2012 in terms of money. An elite reliever is worth more than 1 WAR&change/season. They’re betting smart on Bregman. Instead of potentially saying goodbye to an elite player at age 28, we have him for an extra two years, until 2024. Barring catastrophe, he’ll be an elite player for all of this contract, at a sub-elite-player price.