Astros-Cristian Javier deal exacerbates frustrating reality for Yankees fans

World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Al Bello/GettyImages

Look away, New York Yankees fans. The Houston Astros managed to get their way ... again. Like clockwork. Somehow, in back-to-back offseasons, it really feels as if they're going to seamlessly chug along after losing two of their best players. "They can't keep getting away with this!!!"

But they will. And if you haven't already surrendered to it, perhaps it's time. Over the weekend, the Astros signed pitcher Cristian Javier -- who helped no-hit the Yankees in 2022 -- to a five-year, $64 million contract extension that bought out three arbitration years and two free agency years.

How do the Astros keep finding these players who have the least aggressive representation? Yordan Alvarez's six-year, $115 million extension signed in 2022 was baffling. They also managed to get both Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve under team-friendly extensions before both defected to super agent Scott Boras.

Now Javier, a 25-year-old hitting his stride as a starting pitcher, will make a $12.8 million AAV through the 2027 season. In 78 career games (44 starts), the right-hander is 20-12 with a 3.05 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 1.04 WHIP and 278 strikeouts across 304.1 innings.

To cap off his 2022 campaign, he surrendered zero earned runs over his final six starts, two of which came in the postseason (both wins) en route to the Astros' second World Series victory.

Yup, he buzzsawed the Yankees three times this past year: 17.1 innings, one run, three hits, eight walks and 21 strikeouts. Javier was always going to remain in Houston for at least three years, but it's infuriating that Houston managed to snag two free agent years when starting pitching prices are at an all-time high.

Astros extending Cristian Javier is frustrating reminder for Yankees

Even when it seems like the sky is falling for the Astros -- they lose Justin Verlander, Christian Vazquez, Aledmys Diaz and Trey Mancini while also enduring turmoil in the front office, which resulted in the departure of general manager James Click -- they still manage to escape unscathed.

All it took this year was extending Alvarez, signing Jose Abreu, and taking care of Javier for the conversation to be completely flipped. Not only that, but the team is apparently working on extensions for Bregman, Altuve and Kyle Tucker, who just became eligible for arbitration.

Some key players and stars may filter out, but the Astros continue to maintain a foundation with their tactics, which seemingly come from ownership, since they've managed to get by now with three different front office regimes.

Could the deal for Javier be a bust? Sure. He's only made 44 starts and has never pitched in more than 149 innings in a single season. But Houston paid him at the perfect time. He's starting to come into his own, he has very little mileage on his arm, and he's already conditioned to pitch in the highest-leverage of moments (4-1 record, 2.20 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 48 strikeouts in 32.2 postseason innings).

It's just always so effortless for the defending champs. Meanwhile, general manager Brian Cashman is doing gymnastics to make unnecessary accommodations for guys like Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He dishes out a seven-year contract to Aaron Hicks after one promising season. Self-imposed roadblocks over and over again.

The Astros lose Correa? Jeremy Peña, step right up! Lose Verlander for two seasons? One game away from the World Series and an AL Pennant. Lose George Springer? Kyle Tucker's ready to receive some MVP votes. It's as seamless as it can possibly be, despite the chaos that might appear to be taking hold. It never does, though. Any suggestions for breaking the wheel here?