The Houston Astros are bracing to lose George Springer in free agency. Might Carlos Correa be right behind him?
The conversation surrounding the Astros this winter has centered around George Springer. Houston has other key players in free agency and will likely be without Justin Verlander for the season after he underwent Tommy John surgery. But according to a report, they could be without another franchise cornerstone in 2021 and beyond.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros have shopped Carlos Correa to other teams with the understanding that it is highly unlikely they extend him before he becomes a free agent after 2021.
This is not the first time the Astros have shopped Correa, 26, though it remains unlikely that he is dealt with teams waiting another year before he and others become available in what is being regarded as the best free-agent shortstop class in baseball history. But even with Correa coming off one of the worst statistical seasons of his career, hitting .264/.326/.383 with five home runs and 25 RBI, he should draw plenty of interest considering his regular season success and ability to perform at his best in the postseason.
It makes sense for the Astros to shop Correa. Trading him now would maximize his value and replenish the farm system after they lost their top picks in 2020 and ‘21 as penalty for the sign stealing scandal. And it would give Houston more financial flexibility this year and going forward with Verlander and Zack Greinke soon coming off the books.
If the Astros do trade Correa, Rosenthal suggests they could pivot toward free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu. Such a scenario feels unlikely considering 1) the price and 2) signing LeMahieu would cost the Astros another draft pick, something that the team is currently unwilling to do.
What the Astros do this offseason remains unclear and it appears that general manager James Click is leaving nothing off the table. And in an offseason that they are bracing to lose Springer, Correa may not be far behind.