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


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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  • Leif Daddow

    You bet! Matt D will become more of a presence at the plate and his defense will become better. He is still new to MLB!

    • Brian Patterson

      Absolutely — Matty D is a young stud! Just give him a full season — we ain’t seen nothing yet! He’s just getting started!

  • Matthew

    This means that the Astros expect Dominguez to improve at the plate. They wouldn’t have suggested a contract like this unless they expected it to save themselves money through his arbitration. This deal is the equivalent of him making $5.3 million in each of his arbitration years.

    For comparison’s sake, Dexter Fowler signed a two-year deal with the Rockies worth $11.6 million, buying out two of his arbitration years at $5.8 mil/year.

    • Brian Patterson

      Excellent point. I agree — it would be quite naive for me to think that the Astros wouldn’t be looking to save money when that has been their modus operandi as of late.

      The fact of the matter is that the Astros see something in him — a gift — and it’s enough for them to make a long-term commitment.

      I believe he is eligible for arbitration in 2016 — at $5.3 million per, that’s one hell of a pay raise from the six-figure salary he’s making now.

      Yes, if he can improve at the plate he’ll earn every bit of that extension and become more well-rounded. I have a gut-feeling that he will.

      • Matthew

        Well, to be clear, the $5.3 mil number only represents the years he would have been arbitration eligible. It accounts for $500k this year and the next, and then his 3 arbitration years, which you’re right, start in 2016.

        I think that if he can get is average to .260, keep the power that he showed last year, and play stellar defense, he’ll outplay this deal.

        • Brian Patterson

          Definitely — I knew exactly what you meant. That’s still a heck of a pay raise that he would know that’s coming.

          Exactly — he doesn’t have to hit .300, maybe he could overachieve and hit .275 and the rest of his game will take care of itself. He will earn that paycheck.

  • Leif Daddow

    The thing about it is not only are the Astro’s getting a contract that is team friendly and it’s not like a raping, because they are taking the risk for reward. They (Matt and the Astros) don’t have to worry about the arbitration years. He knows he is a fixture which bodes well psychologically, his mind is on the game and being cohesive with his teammates. If the Astros can do this with all or many of their team, I think it will get them gelling as a team even better. Face it when your not worrying about your job all the time, you tend to make less of those little mistakes that you do because you feel micromanaged.

    • Matthew

      Great point. Hypothetically speaking, he could be afraid to try and draw walks because it doesnt come naturally to him, and he’s afraid of losing his job.

    • Brian Patterson

      And Matt Dominguez seems like a different breed, we’ve seen a lot of players looking for a pay day are going to produce just enough to get their extension and then there’s a drop-off.

      Matt Dominguez seems to be a different breed — an industrious, bright athlete looking to prove his worth.

      Look at how far he has come — he transitioned from being a standout at Chatsworth High in Calif. in a top-tier program to being just another ball player languishing in the Marlins’ farm system.

      When Luhnow made the call to deal for him, I’m sure Matty D knew that this was his shot & he had to make the best of it.

      Guys like him to don’t falter, they stay the course to do what they have to do to succeed.