Jose Altuve to be held out of season finale with league-leading .340 batting average

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UPDATE, 12:38 p.m. ET: Scratch that. Altuve has now been added to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game.

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle breaks it down:

Jose Altuve is starting the day on the bench with the Astros’ first batting title riding on the line.

With 157 games played already and an 0-for-4 performance on Saturday, Altuve appears to be banking that the Detroit Tigers’ Victor Martinez won’t have the multi-hit day needed to catch him.

Altuve boasts a .340 batting average in 656 at-bats this season. Martinez sits at .337 through 558 at-bats.

V-Mart needs to go 3-for-3 (or 4-for-4) on Sunday against the Twins to catch Altuve. The Tigers would take that, as they’re trying to fend off the Royals and wrap up their fourth straight American League Central championship. A loss by Detroit and a win by Kansas City would set up a Game 163 tiebreaker.

Altuve made it known to reporters Sunday morning that this was not his decision. The call was made by Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and interim manager Tom Lawless. “I wanted to play,” Altuve said. “It wasn’t up to me.” Altuve was told he would sit in a meeting with Luhnow, Lawless, and “three other people I don’t know.”

MORE FROM HARDBALLTALK: Jose Altuve has the most hits by a second baseman in 78 years

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.