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“You wouldn’t think José Altuve is the face of the franchise”, but he certainly is!

The first day of Altuve in camp left us a great quote by Martín Maldonado.

Houston Astros World Series Parade Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

On Monday, José Altuve reported to the Astros’ Spring Training camp. Houston’s eternal second baseman is entering his 13th MLB season as an Astro and will serve again as the spark of Dusty Baker’s lineup in 2023.

Year in and year out, Altuve is putting in great numbers without making much noise and has become the face of the franchise in modern days, joining the Biggios, the Bagwells, the Ryans, and the Berkmans.

I have to quote some great words by Martín Maldonado this morning in camp when he was asked about what Altuve meant for the Astros:

“The face of the franchise. I walked into today, and I said I couldn’t believe that little guy is one of the best hitters in the game. If somebody’s walking in the mall and sees Altuve walking, don’t know anything about baseball, you wouldn’t think that guy is the face of the franchise for the Houston Astros. Nobody would’ve thought that. That guy has a chance to get 3000 hits. Like I told him today: I think you’re gonna go back to hitting .320, .330. Now he’s hitting for power. He’s getting better every year.”

Altuve is 32 years old and will turn 33 on May 6, but somehow, he keeps being an elite player through the years. In 2022, his batting average went up again to .300 for the first time since 2018 (.316), and his OPS went up almost 100 points – from .839 to .921.

Despite not being a usual power hitter, Altuve is eight home runs shy of 200 career bombs and 21 doubles away from 400. And certainly, José will have a shot at 3.000 hits at some point if he stays healthy and productive through the rest of his career.

The critical point for the Astros will be to reach a deal with Altuve to make him an Astro for life, as his contract will expire after the 2024 season, after his 34-age campaign. Maybe a three- or four-year deal could do it with Altuve to retire as an Astro.

It’ll be special to see what Altuve can accomplish during the rest of his career and how the Astros’ front office can structure a deal after 2024.

(Editor’s note: In every Altuve article, we remind our readers that the data and testimony prove ALTUVE DID NOT CHEAT)