The Houston Astros don’t seem to be making progress with Carlos Correa.
Coming right on the heels of the Lance McCullers extension news, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Houston Astros and star shortstop Carlos Correa have “no sign of traction” in their extension talks. Specifically, Heyman notes the team has offered around $120 million over six years.
Anyone in the know will tell you that kind of an offer won’t even come close to getting a deal done, as Correa could command at least $200 million given his age (26), unsurpassed talent and strong defense at a premium position. Unless the team is willing to offer a lot more money, Correa could end up testing the free agent market this offseason.
It has been pointed out that the team’s offer matches what Xander Bogaerts agreed to with the Red Sox nearly two years ago, but that is viewed as a team-friendly deal, and Correa is a far superior defender and has an even greater offensive ceiling. That kind of a proposal to Correa could charitably be described as a starting point, and at worst could be seen as a lowball offer.
Given his age, Correa could command a contract of 10 years or more. If the Astros are insistent on not going that long, they’ll have to offer a higher average annual value if they’re only paying for his prime years. Some might argue Correa hasn’t done enough to warrant that kind of money, but if the Astros don’t give it to him, someone else probably will.
GM James Click and owner Jim Crane are likely cautious about overpaying, as they should be. Fans are sentimental about Correa, and he has evolved into a team leader and postseason hero. His regular season stats aren’t eye popping, and he has missed some time with injuries. He’s also set to join a crowded free agent class at shortstop.
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Unless extensions are worked out, Correa would join Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Andrelton Simmons and Marcus Semien in next winter’s ripe free agent crop. It’s not clear how many teams would be willing to pay top dollar for a shortstop, and that picture might not become clear until the new CBA is in place. There’s no way of knowing how that will shake out.
But it’s entirely possible that supply will outweigh demand in this instance, allowing the Astros (or another team) to snag one of these players for a relative bargain. Perhaps that’s what they’re banking on in their talks with Correa, trying to emphasize that the market could be crowded this winter. They also might not want to agree to a huge contract without knowing what the landscape will be in the new CBA.
What we do know is Correa has set a deadline for extension talks to be completed by the end of Spring Training, and the sides seem to be very far apart with less than a week to go. Unless the Astros are willing to seriously improve on this reported offer, we could be heading into the season without an extension in place.