Jose Altuve extension in Houston proves Astros refuse to let Angels rise in AL West

Keep dreaming, Angels fans. Jose Altuve is here to stay.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Los Angeles Angels infielder Luis Rengifo
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Los Angeles Angels infielder Luis Rengifo / Tim Warner/GettyImages

It was a nice thought, right? The Houston Astros were entering the 2024 season with both Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman entering the final years of their respective contracts. The Los Angeles Angels were just one year away from ridding themselves of the two biggest nuisances in their pursuit of an AL West title.

But the Astros decided that seven years of dominance within the division wasn't enough. On Tuesday, Houston extended Altuve for an addition five years, inking the former AL MVP to a contract worth $125 million that will keep the slugger in an Astros uniform for what's likely to be the remainder of his career.

Of all the teams in the AL West, only the Texas Rangers have been hit harder by Altuve's exploits over the past 12 seasons. In his 171 career games against the Angels, Altuve has hit .319/.383/.483 with 21 career homers.

Jose Altuve extension proves Astros refuse to let Angels contend

Jose Altuve debuted for the Astros in 2011. During that 12-year span, the Angels have had just four winning seasons and captured the AL West Division crown once. During the Halos' lone playoff appearance in 2014, Los Angeles was swept out of the postseason by the Kansas City Royals in just three games.

Altuve's contract is structured as such that it will likely allow the Astros to not only keep their superstar in the Lone Star State for the next six seasons, but also extend their other All-Star, Kyle Tucker. Altuve's contract is front-loaded, and includes a $15 million signing bonus.

Altuve will make $30 million in 2025-2027, but his salary will drop to just $10 million in 2028 and 2029. That would seem to offer the Astros the ability to backload a contract extension for Tucker, allowing Houston's dominance to continue.

Thankfully, this contract may well end Alex Bregman's tenure with the Houston Astros. While Altuve agreed to a new deal, Bregman's five-year, $100 million contract is up after the 2024 season. The two-time All-Star will likely become a free agent next winter, and a return to Houston seems unlikely.

Angels fans are still trying to find an optimistic view of the upcoming season after watching Shohei Ohtani leave for the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this offseason. Tuesday's announcement won't help with that, as one of the biggest stumbling blocks for LA over the past decade will be remaining in Houston through the 2029 season.