Yordan Alvarez isn’t leaving Houston anytime soon…
The 24-year-old professional baseball designated hitter and outfielder, a Cuban defector who hadn’t played in any professional games in the U.S. when he was acquired, has signed a six-year contract extension with the Houston Astros that runs through the 2028 season.
“First, I want to give thanks to [owner] Jim [Crane] and [general manager] James [Click] to give me the opportunity to be here the next six years,” Alvarez said. “It just means a lot. I’ve put a lot of work into this and to see the fruits of the labor means a lot.”
In August 2016, the Astros completed a minor trade that sent relief pitcher Josh Fields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the unproven Minor League Baseball slugger, and it turned out to be one of the best deals in Houston franchise history.
Alvarez, moved quickly through the Astros’ system, winning AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2019.
This year, he’s in the hunt for the AL Most Valuable Player Award and is a budding star, which is why the Astros wanted to make sure to keep him in a Houston uniform for years to come.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source told MLB.com when the deal was first reported Friday that it is worth $115 million. Along with a $5 million signing bonus, Alvarez will receive $7 million next season, $10 million in 2024, $15 million in ’25 and $26 million each year from 2026-28.
That makes it the second-largest contract in club history, trailing only the five-year, $151 million extension Jose Altuve received in March 2018.
“Yordan is one of the most complete hitters in the game of baseball,” Click said. “His combination of plate discipline, approach, power to all fields and the ability to hit any pitch that is thrown to him make him an elite hitter at the plate. Early in his career, many talked about him as a designated hitter. But through his hard work and dedication, he has turned himself into a quality player in left field. Combined with his hitting, this makes him quite simply one of the best players in the game right now.”
Entering Monday, Alvarez was fourth in the MLB in OPS (1.105), while leading the Astros in many offensive categories, including batting average (.295), home runs (16) and RBIs (34).
He was named AL Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .565 (13-for-23) with four home runs and eight RBIs.
“He’s the best hitter I’ve ever played with,” Altuve said. “He’s amazing. He can hit the ball the other way; he hits triples, homers and he walks. What a good hitter. I’m happy about this deal. I know how hard he’s worked, and just to know we’re going to have Yordan for six more years, it means a lot.”
The Astros began talking about a possible extension with Alvarez in March and negotiations began in the middle of April, agent Dan Lozano said.
“I think the biggest part is the timing was right and we were able to come to an agreement,” Alvarez said.
After missing most of the 2020 season following a pair of knee surgeries, Alvarez hit .277 with 33 homers and 104 RBIs in his first full season in the big leagues last year. He was named the 2021 ALCS MVP, hitting .522 with a homer and six RBIs against the Red Sox.
While Alvarez has blossomed into an elite offensive player, he’s also made huge strides defensively after serving mostly as a designated hitter in his rookie season. He underwent surgeries on both knees that cost him most of the 2020 season, and he was determined to play more left field. He started only nine games in left in ’19, but he started 39 in left last year and has started 18 so far this season.
“He’s a big man, but he’s also faster than he gets credit for,” Click said. “He has the ability to chase balls down in the gaps. That’s the main thing I’ve seen for him out there. … It’s a testament to his work ethic, his dedication and his character that he’s worked himself into shape to play out there as much as he has.”
The press conference to announce the deal was attended by several of Alvarez’s teammates, including Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley, Jake Odorizzi and Aledmys Díaz. The show of support from his teammates has helped Alvarez make Houston his home for years to come.
“I feel very happy,” Alvarez said. “From the day I was called up, they gave me the opportunity and trusted in me. It felt like I was in the Majors for a while because of the trust they put in me.”