The Houston Astros fanbase has been preparing for life without Carlos Correa since the team offered him $120 million for six years before spring training. And it seems that the five-year, $160 million offer isn’t going to change that dreaded feeling of seeing the beloved shortstop playing elsewhere.
That said the team may be lucky based on this year’s free agent class being so deep with talented shortstops, all of whom would be cheaper than Correa.
A hefty one-year contract from the Astros could entice Carlos Correa to stay one more year.
Correa wants to stay in Houston. He most assuredly wants to win one more title with this current squad to prove they can win outside the sign stealing scandal.
He is the best shortstop available in the free agent market. He’s young. He’s talented defensively and offensively. He displays incredible leadership.
However, a deep shortstop free agent class has hampered some of his leverage. Corey Seager, Trevor Story and American League MVP finalist Marcus Semien are all available this offseason and all will be cheaper, shorter contracts. A trend that teams are now starting to embrace seeing how the Miguel Cabrera and the Albert Pujols’ deals of the world end up.
There are teams with the money and willingness to sign Correa long-term. But they also can acquire a quality shortstop of comparable talent for less if they feel that the 10-year, $300 million mark just isn’t worth the return on investment. Especially at a position it’s so hard to stay at defensively as the years go on.
The Astros just re-signed Justin Verlander and are returning the entire lineup from last year’s team that came two wins shy of another World Series championship. They signed Verlander for $25 million, a slight pay cut from the $33 million he earned the past two years sidelined with Tommy John surgery and recovery.
Zack Greinke’s $30 million contract (deferred over the next few years) is now off the books as well, leaving $38 million on the table to spend.
Lance McCullers Jr. in all likelihood will be back and the team has a surplus of young starting pitching that they can either trade or trust to lead the team to another AL pennant.
And aside from Kendall Graveman the bullpen is retaining Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton and all-star closer Ryan Pressly, giving them a strong seventh-eighth-ninth inning back end.
With all this talent returning from a team that came so close to another ring, the Astros will assuredly be competitive next year. A factor Carlos Correa will heavily weigh when deciding on a final free agent destination.
The only hold up with the Astros is years and money. But……..
Would Correa come back for one more go-round if the Astros broke the bank on a one year contract in the $40 million range and ask Correa to run it back? The 2023 class of shortstop free agents will still be talented, with Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson available.
But Correa will still be the most talented of that bunch, will be younger than all but Swanson (by roughly three weeks) and could stay in Houston as he wants to in the meantime.
This is obviously pie in the sky dreaming. But for the most money ever given out in one year at $40 million with a carbon copy of the team from last year only now you have a healthy Verlander in the mix?
This could be enough to sway him for one more year. Or at least one can always hope and dream.