Unless something crazy and completely unexpected happens, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers Jr. aren’t going anywhere else anytime soon.

It would be great for the team already running away with another American League West crown to have McCullers back on an MLB mound, though.

So who’s next on the Astros’ contract extension slate?

The No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft. A 25-year-old outfielder who just completed a career year and is one of the Astros’ top players overall again in 2022.

The young guy in the super cool bright orange batting gloves.

Ted.

Kyle Tucker, of course.

“I’m here for this year and the next three,” Tucker said in mid-May, referring to talk of an extension from the organization that drafted him. “There’s a long time before my free agent year. I’m always open to discussion. Obviously, I would like it to happen if something happens just not to drag it out for a long time.

Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twin, reminds us that waiting and waiting can eventually backfire.

“We’re obviously very open to that,” Astros general manager James Click said in January 2021, after Correa said he hoped to continue his career with the organization that drafted him.

Alvarez’s recent $115 million six-year extension served as a reminder that the Astros have invested wisely in many of their best players since the franchise started winning again in 2015. Talent has kept the Astros as annual contenders. The same goes for avoiding monster contracts that break rosters and end eras too soon. That the Astros are still going strong without George Springer, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, Correa, etc., is a testament to their overall roster construction and organizational philosophy.

Extensions: good.

Deals that exceed $400 million for a single player: Bad.

Just ask the Los Angeles Angels, who are 27-31, just fired a respected manager and are 14 straight losers.

Bregman was extended. Altuve has been extended. The same goes for McCullers and Ryan Pressly, who agreed to a two-year, $30 million extension in April.

Tucker struggled to live up to all the minor league hype in 2018, trying to make a name for himself on a loaded club that won 103 games and reached the AL Championship Series. Move past his initial stint in MLB, however, and it’s easy to see where this should all go for the No. 30 and the Astros.

Last year, Tucker hit .295 with 30 homers, 37 doubles, 92 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .917 OPS. This year, he responded to a slow start by hitting .261 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and an .834 OPS. His defense is worthy of the All-Stars — Tucker’s 0.9 DWAR ranks second on the team, only topped by rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña. Tucker is also reliable in the daily roster and on the lines — he played in 140 games last year and has played in 52 of the Astros’ 57 games this season.

How much money costs, for how long? This is the real question.

Alvarez’s extension was a win-win for one of MLB’s top power hitters and Houston’s MLB team. The same applies to the agreements entered into by Altuve and Bregman.

It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to imagine this era of the Astros without Tucker in the box and in the outfield. Which means the next big expansion announced by the Astros should go to one of MLB’s most underrated players.

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