The team might have to be big spenders to keep players around

Who gets the next big payday for Astros?

The Astros locked up Alex Bregman earlier this week before arbitration even hit for him while also whipping up a new deal for relief expert Ryan Pressly. With those two deals done we turn our eyes to the players would could next be getting a new contract and what those extensions could look like.

Justin Verlander

The Cy Young runner-up from 2018 enters the final year of his seven year, $180 million contract in 2019. The thought around him has long been he has his eyes set on the bust in Cooperstown and he needs just a few more years of high-level baseball before he is a lock. This could be a deal done before or during the upcoming season.

While he seems to enjoy the organization in Houston Verlander likely is looking for two qualities in his next deal: winning and a final payday. The Astros could easily offer both of those to him. The length of the deal is the part which could get dicey. Not many pitchers end up going past their late 30's but let's assume Verlander remains on his renewed pace and he could stay until he's 40.

Possible Deal: 3 years, $90 million with a mutual option for the fourth year

Gerrit Cole

This will get expensive. Cole is young, has just unlocked his true potential, and has Scott Boras for an agent. The first season as a member of the Astros was fantastic and it ended with the highest-ever awarded salary arbitration with the number coming in at $13.5 million. There is almost no way Cole wouldn't test the free agency waters.

Think big on this deal, like the biggest ever for a pitcher. If Cole replicates his 2018, he will break records. David Price and Max Scherzer both signed seven-year deals at the age of 30. Cole will be 29. The average annual value for pitchers set by Zack Greinke of $34.4 million will also be a target. This will be the hardest negotiation of Jeff Luhnow's career and with Cole likely to hit free agency Houston won't be the only team chasing the star pitcher.

Possible Deal: 7 years, $245 million with a vesting option for an eighth year

Carlos Correa

We are a ways off from Correa's free agency, he isn't scheduled to hit the open market until 2022. He will play this year for $5 million and have two more years of arbitration. His huge deal isn't right around the corner, there won't be any Alex Bregman or Jose Altuve deals for Correa anytime soon. A deal similar to George Springer's deal is certainly possible.

Springer signed a two-year contract to buyout all but one arbitration year. Durability wasn't a concern with Springer, he missed just 22 games over the two seasons before his big raise. Correa has missed 105 games the past two years. A healthy 2019 would go a long way towards Correa getting big money.

Possible Deal: 3 years, $52.5 million (buying out one year of free agency)

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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