All-Star Lance McCullers Jr. and Astros Reach $85 Million Extension

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. in 2018.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. in 2018. Photo by Prentice C James/CSM/Shutterstock (9773774am)

Houston Astros locked All-Star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. to an extension and will avoid the risk of losing him to a free agency next offseason.

MLB’s Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday that Astros gave McCullers a new five-year contract worth $85 million. The deal, which comes with a $3.5 million signing bonus, will kick off next season since the two sides previously made a one-year, $6.5 million agreement for 2021 in order to avoid arbitration.

Astros aggressively pursued a long-term deal with McCullers in recent weeks, viewing the 27-year-old pitcher as one of the future headliners of their rotation. He could possibly move to that role as soon as this year, considering that ace Justin Verlander is set to miss the entire year while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Lance McCullers had a Tommy John surgery of his own back in late 2018 but managed to finish the rehab in time to take part in shortened 2020 MLB season. He had a solid campaign, making 11 starts and finishing the year with a 3-3 record, 3.93 ERA, and 56 strikeouts.

Since making his majors debut in 2015, McCullers has a 32-25 career record while posting 3.70 ERA and 565 strikeouts. He earned an All-Star nod in 2017 when he also helped the Astros win the World Series.