With Kyle Tucker still unavailable, Michael Brantley (side) being scratched from the lineup and Jose Altuve having a scheduled rest day, the Houston Astros still pulled off a series win over the Cleveland Indians, 3-2. Yordan Alvarez and Martin Maldonado are both away for the rest of series due to personal reasons, so the reserves and the bullpen stepped up at a critical time to get some impactful victories.
Even with a lineup full of regular role players, Carlos Correa stood tall as the leader of this team. Injuries have popped up in his past, but with others down, he has stood up as seen over the past two seasons, so at this point, his value has increased compared to the start of the season.
As we pass the halfway mark for the season, how much has Carlos Correa boosted his free agency stock?
We know the story: Correa was low-balled by the Astros’ front office. No matter which stance you take in the discussion, we can all agree that Correa will make more money this following offseason at his current rate.
Team owner Jim Crane and general manager James Click compared the career of Correa to that of Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The offer was in the ballpark of a six-year, $120 million deal at the age of 26-years-old. Correa and Bogaerts are separated by roughly two years of age, and while the Astros haven’t been known for large contracts, they missed out on a possible steal of a long-term deal at a cheeper price.
The easiest way to help compare possible contracts is by looking at other player’s numbers before they signed. Statistics and likeness get you paid. You don’t just benefit the team but also the bank account of the franchise, so for players like Francisco Lindor and Fernando Tatis Jr., we can understand how their big market franchises are moving weight for their contracts.
For someone like Correa, he wants to be the face of the franchise, and he can be that here in Houston. Jose Altuve is getting older, Alex Bregman seems more reserved and Correa is the most electric on the team. After 78 games thus far, the right-hander is slashing .300/.401/.534 with 47 walks to 58 strikeouts.
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Yes, everyone wants to see power, but this new plate discipline adds so much more value than just an occasional long ball. He has progressed mightily for the Astros this season, as 20 doubles and 16 home runs also make up his line. He has fluctuated throughout the lineup and has been one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball since May 1.
When looking at money, Correa should’ve been in the ballpark of $200 or more million over eight or more years entering the season. Staying 100% healthy has been tacked onto his name, and even after a full season of average numbers in 2020, we can understand how much Correa benefits from a full season, while he is also the clutchest hitter in baseball.
Correa wouldn’t be getting a Tatis-like deal at his age, but in my personal opinion, he should be shopping in the eight to 10-year range from the chatter we have heard from the offseason. I don’t have the experience of building a contract for a player, but in relation to that of Lindor, who is one year older, Correa should make in the range of $300-310 million over 10 years. You can argue that Lindor’s contract hurt the Astros even more than the Mets’ checkbook.
When comparing career WAR (from Baseball Reference), Correa has a 31.2 WAR over 682 career games played, while Lindor has a 29.6 WAR over 854 games played. This is a huge difference that should benefit Correa nicely.
This all comes down to if the Astros or another team gives into the All-Star shortstop. While also being a top defensive player who can also play third base, there is more than just the offensive production. There is also baggage with his history with the sign stealing scandal and his likeness not at the same level as someone like Lindor, but if Correa continues this tear through MLB, he should see a load of teams offering him the money he wants.
The Astros are back on the field on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. with Zack Greinke off the rubber against right-hander Cal Quantrill. On the farm, Enoli Paredes was activated from the 10-day injured list and optioned immediately to Triple-A. This does seem like a slight surprise with Andre Scrubb, Peter Solomon and Ralph Garza Jr. on the 26-man roster, but this move provides Paredes more time to work on his command struggles.