John McClain: Brown’s philosophy is to lock up Astros’ key players to sustain winning

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13743033a) Dana Brown smiles during a news conference after being hired as the Houston Astros general manager, in Houston. Brown replaces James Click, who was not given a new contract and parted ways with the Astros just days after they won the World Series Astros General Manager Baseball, Houston, United States – 26 Jan 2023

John McClain: Brown’s philosophy is to lock up Astros’ key players to sustain winning

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Astros fans should love new general manager Dana Brown because he’s singing a tune they want to hear. Since leaving his job last month as the Braves’ vice president of scouting to accept Jim Crane’s offer to replace former general manager James Click, Brown has been preaching his refreshing philosophy when it comes to his players.

Brown, 55, reiterated on Thursday, the first day of spring training, what he disclosed at the team’s media luncheon last week: He wants to sign Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker to new contracts and Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve to extensions.

“We’re trying to execute the vision, and our vision is to select, secure and sustain long-term winning,” Brown said during a news conference to announce pitcher Cristian Javier’s five-year, $64-million contract. “When I talk to Jim about these type of deals, we appreciate all he’s done because he’s definitely committed, and we thank him for his resources.

“It (Javier’s contract) goes with the vision we talked to Jim about, and that’s to secure these players to sustain long-term winning. I think it’s very important to the franchise to keep good players.”

Asked about ongoing negotiations to complete more deals, Brown said, “We like to do extensions. We want to keep players in the building. I’m talking to agents. We’re in the keeping business, and we’ll do everything we can to keep our players.”

The Astros signed Yordan Alvarez to a new contract last year. They tried to sign Tucker, too, but couldn’t pull it off. They’ve increased their efforts to negotiate new deals for Tucker and Valdez since Brown was hired late in January.

“We’re in communication with both of their agents,” Brown said. “I’m optimistic every day in terms of trying to lock up players. It’s negotiations. You have to feel good about it, and you have to keep a positive attitude. I go to bed every night and wake up every day thinking, ‘Hey, it would be nice to get these guys signed.’ On our to-do list, it’s a priority.

“There’s nothing new on Bregman and Altuve. I just made it clear to them and (I’ve been) in communication with Scott Boras because he has both players that these guys should retire here. They should be Houston’s for life. We value their abilities. We’re trying to sustain the winning, and some guys are going to get done, and some guys are going to have to wait, but we’re in constant communication to try to make sure we get these players secured.”

Brown, who has been in baseball for 33 years, said recently his philosophy is to be aggressive when it comes to securing players with long-term deals, which should give fans hope – if not confidence – the Astros won’t lose as many star players in free agency as they did with George Springer, Carlos Correa, Gerrit Cole, and Justin Verlander.

“That’s a big part of what we should do,” Brown said. “We owe that to our fan base – to try to keep our players in the city – and that’s what we’re going to try to do. You have to evaluate a player and say to yourself, ‘Do I see this player as part of the franchise, and can he make a difference?’ Once you make that decision, I think you owe it to the fans to go after them and lock them up to keep them from walking out the door, and your team falls off the cliff.”

Brown wants to back up his words with Crane’s money. It’ll be interesting to see if Brown can do longer-term deals than Crane has done. If they don’t, it won’t be for a lack of Brown trying.

“We’re in talks with multiple players and their agents,” he said. “I think the agents have been pretty understanding for the most part. They understand we want to get players locked up. Also, the players love Houston. They love playing on a winning team.”

And the Astros are a winning team, the favorite to repeat as World Series champions. Brown won a ring when the Braves beat the Astros in 2021. Now he wants another one with the Astros, who have reached the American League Championship Series for six consecutive years, including four World Series appearances and two titles.

With Baker missing the first day of workouts at spring training to return to Houston to accept an honor, Brown said, “This team is still really good, and Dusty’s leadership is a big part of it. These guys will run through a wall for him.”

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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