After receiving a qualifying offer, it was obvious Carlos Correa would decline the $18.4 million for the 2022 season from the Houston Astros and explore free agency. Even before the season ended, it was evident that Correa would be the highest sought out shortstop this winter.
The Astros’ most recent offer was a five-year, $160 million deal, as reported by Mark Berman of Fox 26. This offers an annual average value (AAV) of $32 million, which might be the ballpark Correa shoots for, but the issue remains on the length of the contract.
Correa has been rumored in talks with teams like the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees, and while you can anticipate many other teams in the mix, there have been little-to-no reports on what teams are offering the two-time All-Star.
After winning the Platinum Glove for the American League and finishing fifth in American League Most Valuable Player voting, Correa certainly has a resume for a large contract, but it all comes down to whether the Astros pony up on a longer deal or Correa takes a discount on the years for a slightly larger AAV.
Carlos Correa could be the highest paid shortstop in baseball, once it is all said and done, but what team will that be with?
The way things are, I just don’t see Correa winding up a Dodger—there’s just too much tension there with him and that roster in its current form from an organizational behavior standpoint.
However, in Anaheim, it may be a different story, where Correa’s arm could complement Mike Trout’s relay throws to get those critical outfield assists that save runs—which Trout might especially appreciate because it could help augment his wins above replacement (WAR) value as a center fielder.
Also, the Angels’ roster has arguably underperformed, and may be the closest in the American League West to righting ship if they deliver more effective pitching.
Chicago, like Los Angeles, is a two-team market that has a track record of spending big. But the White Sox are probably content with Tim Anderson at shortstop. Meanwhile, the Cubs situation remains a little murkier.
Correa could wind up suiting up for home games at Wrigley Field, but it also comes down to which team Javier Báez plays for in 2022. And affecting the bidding war for Correa’s services, it comes down to not only where Báez goes, but what position he will accept playing. In theory, Báez and Correa could both be infielders on the same team in 2022 provided one was okay with not playing shortstop.
With the Yankees’ situation, it’s difficult to say how well Correa would fit in the clubhouse. But in Queens, the Mets seem like a frontrunner to dole out the mega contract. However, Báez hit .299 in 47 games for the Mets after leaving the Cubs, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they do everything they can to keep Báez playing home games at Citi Field.
And then there appears to be a healthy congeniality and positive rapport between Tigers manager, AJ Hinch, and Correa—as evidenced by the two recently being spotted together for breakfast.
I imagine the decision does come down to if Correa demands to win now wherever he goes. And seeing as how the Astros having reached the American League Championship Series in five consecutive seasons, I’d give the Astros a 25 percent chance of landing the deal, but it would have to be a bombshell contract that may mortgage the future.
However, it might not be unheard of for Houston to finally take that jump into big market spending as the nation’s fourth most populated city and fifth most populated metropolitan statistical area.