Aug 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza (30) is tagged out by Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (30) during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Five-year, $17 million bounty for Astros' Matt Dominguez

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The reality of infielder Matt Dominguez being a component of the Astros’ drive to thrive is rapidly approaching. According to Yahoo! Sports, there have been reports of the franchise preparing to reward him with a five-year, $17 million contract extension.

For a player who utilizes Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” as a prelude to his at-bats for home games, it’s apparent the Astros look to channel that kinetic energy that he has harnessed wisely throughout the 2013 season.

Dominguez, 24, preferred not to comment on the pending negotiations but has cherished his time in Houston so far.

“I like the city of Houston and I like playing here,” Dominguez told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggert. “If it happens, it happens. If they were to come to me and do that, I don’t know. I’m just taking it day-by-day.”

In 2013, the most action he has seen in the major leagues, he cranked out a satisfactory .241 batting average, popped 21 homers, scored 56 runs and brought in 77 RBIs in 152 games of action. That’s good enough but still room for improvement.

Dominguez was acquired in 2012 in a trade that sent long-time left-fielder Carlos Lee to the Miami Marlins.

I like Matty D – he has an incredible work ethic and continues to keep the Astros in positions to win although they were few and far in between last season. It’s not his fault though.

Sep 13, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (30) celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 13, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (30) celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The ingredient to Matt’s success is his defense. He is the reigning Astros’ Wilson Defensive Player of the Year. The numbers speak for themselves — he ranked fourth out of all third basemen in the American League last season with a fielding percentage of .963. He also only committed 16 errors out of 431 tries which do raise some elevated signs of efficiency.

But let’s dig further. Dominguez garnered a near-adequate Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of a -2.4 from last season but personified a third-base showstopper by earning an awesome Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) rating of an 8.

I’m aware that these metrics have different sample sizes and they do not always benefit the player for stuff that doesn’t reflect on the stat sheet. But I’m positive that they indicate that he has plenty of upside and can be an important part of the Astros’ planned ascent in the AL West.

When I step into the friendly confines of the Juice Box in a few weeks for Opening Day, Matty D is one of the players I look forward to seeing at his usual spot in the infield.

The decision is clear — the Astros need to make it a priority to grease the wheels of a fine-tuned defensive machine by giving him an extension because Houston baseball fans deserve to see more of his gritty 5-4-3 plays this season, to which he had 28 of them in 2013.

Do you think Dominguez will follow his strong 2013 performance this season? Will the Astros’ tender a reasonable offer? Share your thoughts!

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