Telling the fascinating free agency of Carlos Correa

As baseball’s owners actively try to undermine the sport’s long-term viability to maximize short-term revenue – in addition to locking players out of the league, a ploy that now poses a real threat to the regular season beginning on time – I thought I would do something that certainly hasn’t been done to death yet: speculate on Carlos Correa’s free agency.

Heading into this winter, the 27-year-old Correa was considered by most to be the top free agent in an impressive class that included loads of high-end players, especially in the shortstop department. There was about a month of free agency before the owners implemented a lockdown on December 2, and several major signings were completed before then.

Correa was not among them, and based on the contracts that were handed out before the deal freeze – namely Corey Seager (10 years, $325m) and Marcus Semien (7 years, $175m) – there was reason to believe that Correa’s asking price could be met. The former No. 1 overall pick was (/is?) looking for a deal similar to the one Francisco Lindor received shortly before the 2021 season (10 years, $341 million), which would be slightly more than Seager got from Rangers in late November.

It seemed plausible enough at the time, but over the past two months, the common sentiment seems to be that Correa and his camp have misjudged his market value, which is likely part of the reason why the two-time All-Star recently hired the most important. name in the industry. Although Scott Boras is known for getting the best price for his clients, there’s reason to think his hiring may have little impact on Correa’s free agency when it eventually resumes.

As for Correa and/or his earlier depiction overestimating his worth, the Tigers’ reported offer of 10-year-old, $275 million was ostensibly rejected. Aside from the Astros’ unrealistic attempts to retain their hometown superstar, Detroit’s offer is the most serious that has been reported.

Since Javier Báez signed a six-year contract worth $140m on December 1, it’s logical to assume the Tigres tackled Correa before moving on to the cheaper Báez. At the same time, however, they still have about $70 million to spend before crossing the luxury tax threshold under the expired CBA, according to Roster Resource, so no matter where that line is after the conclusion of a new work agreement, it is possible that their offer to Correa will be essentially permanent. If he accepted, Báez could simply pass to the other side of second base.

The only other possible destination for Correa – if he is desperate to get a huge long-term contract – could be the North Side of Chicago. Per RR, the Cubs could have up to $80 million to play with — again, depending on where the new CBT threshold is.

Ever since they were sellers at the trade deadline, rumors have surfaced that the 2016 World Series champions would be aggressive in free agency. They got off to a good start by signing one of the best starting pitchers in the market, Marcus Stroman, to a 3-year, $71 million deal.

While they’ll likely continue to aim high when free agency resumes, there’s a caveat when it comes to Cubs and Correa compatibility. They’ll be able to throw buckets of cash at free agents and could easily afford to pay the Puerto Rican over $30m a year, but they might not want to commit to a 10-year deal.

Barring a substantial CBT threshold increase in the new CBA, the Yankees and Dodgers, two of MLB’s biggest spenders, should already be in the tax, and while the Yankees can use Correa, they’re no longer wild spendthrifts they were, and will likely opt to find a short-term bridge with top prospect Anthony Volpe instead. The Dodgers will move Trea Turner to shortstop to replace Seager, but even if they didn’t have that luxury, it would be hard to imagine Correa in a blue Los Angeles uniform.

The Astros technically remain an option, but only if Correa were to drastically change his mindset and settle for a lucrative short-term contract, one that pays $35 million or more a year, with an option to opt out after. two years, as Buster Olney proposed two months ago.

The lockout hasn’t done Correa any favors, and amid a status quo that looks likely to stretch into March, a labor resolution may not impact the biggest hurdle in the Correa’s free agency that began to emerge just before the lockout: insufficient demand.

Christy J. Olson