Astros lock up slugger Alvarez with six-year deal

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The Houston Astros and Yordan Alvarez have agreed to a six-year, $115million extension that will keep the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year under team control through 2028, according to multiple reports.

MLB.com reports the deal will pay Alvarez $7m in 2023, $10m in 2024, $15m in 2025 and $26m per season over the final three years of the contract. It also contains a $5m signing bonus.

The contract, which ESPN reports to be the largest ever for a player primarily used as a designated hitter, encompasses all of Alvarez's arbitration-eligible seasons as well as his first three years of free agency.

It is also the fifth-largest extension in MLB history for a player yet to reach arbitration, behind Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340m), Wander Franco (11 years, $182m), Buster Posey (eight years, $159m) and Mike Trout (six years, $144.5m).

Alvarez earned the large payday by emerging among the game's premier power hitters since breaking into the majors in June 2019. The 24-year-old has produced a .287 average with 75 home runs, 217 RBIs and a .947 OPS over 278 career games.

The Cuba native enters Friday's play second in the AL with 14 homers, fifth in slugging percentage (.574), sixth in OPS (.941) and eighth in RBIs (31).

Alvarez set a major league rookie record by amassing a 1.067 OPS while batting .313 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in just 87 games to be named the AL's top newcomer in 2019.

After knee surgeries limited him to only two games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, he bounced back to record 33 homers and 104 RBIs in 2021 and was voted MVP of the AL Championship Series after leading Houston past the Boston Red Sox for a spot in last year's World Series.

Alvarez joins 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman and starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. as core players the Astros have signed to large multi-year contracts in recent years.

Houston were unable to retain two other key contributors to their 2017 world championship run, as outfielder George Springer signed with Toronto following the 2020 season and shortstop Carlos Correa signed with Minnesota this past offseason.

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