Houston Astros second baseman and franchise legend Jose Altuve will open the 2023 season on the injured list thanks to the thumb fracture he suffered during the World Baseball Classic. Given that the injury could sideline him until June or so, it's natural that Altuve's focus would right now be on the future as opposed to the present. How far into the future he's looking, though, may come as a surprise. Here's what the forward-looking Altuve recently told the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome:
"I'm 32, and I want to play to 40. I love what I'm doing right now. I love my game. I enjoy my game, … When I go out there and put my uniform on, I really enjoy playing with these guys. Hopefully...I can stay here for the rest of my career. Everybody knows it's not up to me. But (it's) something I would love to (do)."
Altuve has been an Astro for the entirety of his professional career, even he since was first signed as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela back in 2006. Given all that, it's not surprising that he'd like to remain in Houston for whatever's left of his playing days. More notable is that he has stated designs on playing until age 40.
Altuve will turn 33 on May 6, which means he's angling to extend his major-league playing career until at least May 2030. Rare is the player who remains productive, or even employable at such an age, but Altuve figures to have a reasonably strong shot at achieving that goal. He's coming off an age-32 season that was one of his most productive from an offensive standpoint (his 2022 OPS+ of 160 ties the career-high mark he set in his MVP season of 2017). So decline doesn't seem to have taken hold yet. As well, Altuve plays a key defensive position, he runs the bases well, and at the plate he blends power with contact skills. That's the kind of profile that tends to age very well. On another level, Altuve's likely to top 2,000 career hits this season, and playing until age 40 would give him a real shot at reaching the hallowed territory of 3,000 hits. Playing for long is a rare feat, but in Altuve's case it's not a wholly unrealistic one.
As for remaining an Astro all the while, it's worth noting that Altuve's contract is up after the 2024 season. Houston general manager Dana Brown recently said re-signing Altuve, among other talents presently on the roster, is a priority but not necessarily something that will happen this year. There's time, and on Altuve's part there's a desire to remain in Houston for many years to come -- say, perhaps, seven.