The Houston Astros have enjoyed the luxury of having a superstar talent like Carlos Correa for the past seven years on their major league roster. There’s no question about his talent nor the Astros desire to have him back on the team. But the odds seem long that the Astros are able to re-sign him.
The Astros won’t offer Carlos Correa a 10-year contract because of their investment-style philosophy.
The Astros are analytical to a fault when it comes to player evaluations. And while short term it’s hard to say no to anything Correa wants considering he just had his best season offensively, defensively and health-wise with most likely many more to come, the history of these long term investments just doesn’t justify the signing.
The Astros look at players like the stock market. What will be our return on investment for the duration of this contract? And history has shown that the back-end of these mega deals just isn’t worth what you get on the front-end.
From Albert Pujols to Miguel Cabrera to Alex Rodriguez, while the front-end of these deals you get some productive years, the way the money and these players performance hamstrings the team financially and on the field is just not worth it.
Albert Pujols is probably the best example in terms of why these deals aren’t worth the early returns. Here is a side by side comparison of Albert Pujols’ numbers through his first 11 seasons with St. Louis and last 10 with the Los Angeles Angels.
- St. Louis Cardinals: 40 home runs, 121 RBI, 117 runs and 188 hits.
- LA Angels: 22 home runs, 78 RBI, 56 runs and 118 hits.
That difference is quite staggering. As is the comparison between his first five years vs his last four full years with the Angles. I’ve decided to not include the pandemic shortened season since it’s only 60 games long.
- First five years: 29 home runs, 98 RBI, 76 runs and 132 hits.
- Last five years: 21 home runs, 77 RBI, 47 runs and 111 hits.
To be fair, Pujols signed that 10 year deal in his age 31 season whereas Correa is 27 years old so there would be more productive years for Correa.
Still, the drop off after someone’s age 31 season is still significant as we can see in the difference between Pujols’ numbers with the Cardinals versus his numbers with the Angels.
Not to mention Correa plays an extremely difficult defensive position in shortstop where he won’t be able to stay forever as he ages. So what are those first five years worth for his last five years. And what does that money of $35 million a year do to the possibility of signing the Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez’s of the world.
This is why the Astros have a philosophy against long contracts. Over time they are not worth the pay off you get in the first five years. Not to mention you’re not guaranteed to get your money’s worth as Francisco Lindor displayed in his first year with the New York Mets.
Every five years is a fair term to re-evaluate where a player is at in their career and what their worth is at that stage. So while it may be hard to say good by to Correa, the Astros do have to keep their eye on the long term viability balanced against their short term needs.
And to show how the one star re-signing is not necessary for a team to continue succeeding, since Pujols signed with the Angels in 2012 they’ve been to the playoffs once and didn’t win a single game in that sole trip.
Since 2012 the Cardinals have made it to the World Series once (2013), the NLCS three times including 2012 the year after they lost Pujols getting within a game of the World Series, and in total they’ve been to the playoffs seven times in the past 10 seasons.
So while yes it would be nice to keep Correa, the Astros are right to not cripple the team financially with a contract that history has shown is not worth the investment.