Do the Astros have a Framber Valdez extension brewing?

Nov 5, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning in game six of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Astros have a Framber Valdez extension brewing?

The Astros brought in new general manager Dana Brown both to rebuild the farm system and because of his experience with the Braves’ retaining in-house talent through extensions. Just one day after saying he had a good feeling about agreeing on an extension with Cristian Javier, a five-year deal came to fruition. Despite Kyle Tucker losing his arbitration hearing with the Astros, he is still a candidate for an extension if the Astros can meet him where he wants to be, money and length-wise.

Likely to take the mound this year on opening day is Framber Valdez, the Astros’ ace with Justin Verlander departing to New York. Valdez and the Astros have already agreed to a deal for 2023, a $6.8 million contract for the lefty starter who took a huge step forward last season. Brown has stated that he would like to agree to an extension with Valdez, who has two more years of arbitration after 2023 before hitting free agency.

Late Monday evening, Hector Gomez tweeted that Valdez could sign an extension before the season starts and that he is looking for $150 million plus to stay with Houston. Gomez cited a person familiar with the talks in the tweet. If Javier got five years and $64 million, how many years could Valdez’s potential extension last?

Valdez is older than Javier, 29 compared to 25, and has had five seasons as a starter at the major league level. I doubt the Astros have too much interest in locking Valdez up past the age of 35, as most pitchers do not maintain effectiveness as they age the way Justin Verlander has. Including the 2023 season, I could see the Astros offering a 7-year extension that would make Valdez a free agent after the 2029 season.

Based on Javier’s extension and what Valdez is looking for, my best guess for what a Framber Valdez extension could look like:

$4 million signing bonus

2023 – $6.8 million

2024 – $12.8 million

2025 – $18.8 million

2026-2029 – $28 million

Total: $154.4 million with an average annual value of $22 million

Would Jim Crane sign a pitcher for seven years? Valdez is coming off an excellent 2022 season that saw him finish 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA. Looking at Jacob deGrom‘s $30 million or Yu Darvish‘s $25 million for 2023, where does Valdez fit between those two pitchers?

The market for starting pitchers is inflated at the moment. If a pitcher like Valdez can be extended with a $22 million AAV, the Astros should make it happen. That would only be $3-4 million more than the qualifying offer. What do you think a potential extension for Valdez would look like?

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