Correa's Best Options

Updated: Jan 19

In the Astros and Longhorns New Year's Resolutions article I wrote something that most Astros fans won't like.


DO NOT go more than 7 years with Correa and if that means he leaves, he leaves.


This is the harsh reality for Astros fans. Jim Crane does not seem willing to and probably will not go even seven years in a contract to Carlos Correa. Part of the reason for that can be seen in the story of Christian Yelich as an example in the Who Am I article.


In the post lockout world, I believe the free agent signings will come rather quickly; but due to the size of Correa's demands, he might be the last major SS to be signed. Many of the teams wanting a SS will choose to meet Correa's demands or move on to another option. Within days Correa's options may be even further limited.


There are at least four leading contenders for Carlos Correa and the Astros are only one of them. Some of those teams have shown more financial flexibility than Jim Crane has shown.


What makes a team a leading candidate for Correa?

  • They are generally in win now mode with a projected WAR over 40

  • They have a need at SS with a projected WAR that is below average

  • They are generally financially viable to add salary (this may require them to go beyond CBT)

The Cubs and the Tigers have been reported by some to still have interest in Correa also. Both would seem to not be a great fit from a competitiveness standpoint. Given that the Tigers have signed Baez already, they probably are the less likely. Both may essentially seek out Correa for leadership and to project credibility to a doubting fan base. For my analysis, I am going to focus on who I consider the leading four.


Yankees

Why would they want Correa? The Yanks desire for Correa would be multifaceted.

  • He would be a defensive renaissance to the team that finished with -41 DRS (29th in MLB). Torres was -10 DRS playing SS. Correa was +20 DRS.

  • He would be a plus bat in the lineup (career 0.837 OPS vs. 2021 Yankees Team 0.729 OPS).

  • Signing Correa would prevent the Astros from signing a projected 5+ WAR player.

Why won't they want Correa?

  • According to Baseball America, the Yanks #1 (Volpe- grade 60) and #2 (Peraza- grade 55) prospects are both highly ranked SS prospects with ETA of 2022/2023. Peraza is the more likely to stay at SS, but Correa would likely block one of their most valuable prospects.

  • The Yankees lineup is already too RHH dependent.

  • Do the Yanks REALLY want another long term $30M AAV contract when they need to sign Judge and several other 2022 Arbitration players after this season.

  • The Yankees are projected to have a ~$214M CBT payroll already. Do they really want to face whatever penalties there are with the new CBA.

Odds of signing Correa- 20%

Astros

Why would they want Correa?

  • Correa has emerged as the leader of the position players

  • Correa's defense is spectacular and not easy to replace

  • Correa has been an 0.849 OPS in the postseason. It is hard to imaging the Astros in the postseason without Correa.

Why they won't want Correa?

  • Money.

  • Crane does not want to risk a long term contract on a player with multiple back injuries already.

  • The Astros are at ~$192M CBT. Signing Correa takes them over CBT and likely reduces flexibility for Tucker and Alvarez in the future.

  • Astros have their top prospect - Jeremy Pena- who is seemingly ready to play by mid-season at worst.

  • Astros lineup is good with or without Correa.

Odds of signing Correa- 5%


Phillies

Why would they want Correa?

  • He would be a defensive renaissance to the team that finished with -54 DRS (Last in MLB). Gregorius was -10 DRS vs. Correa's +20 DRS.

  • Phillies need another star to pair with Harper and Realmuto. Correa's leadership would help.

  • Projected 2022 CBT $180M and over $60 off of CBT payroll in 2023. They could afford him.

  • Phillies management wants to make a splash with fans?

Why won't they want Correa?

  • They have a SS- Gregorius. Correa is an upgrade but

  • Phillies need more help in LF/CF.

  • According to Baseball America, the Phillies #2 (Stott) prospect is projected as 55 grade SS with ETA of 2022

Odds of signing Correa- 15%


Angels

Why would they want Correa?

  • Correa (Projected WAR 5+) would be a significant upgrade over current planned SS Tyler Wade both batting and in the field (Projected WAR 0.4).

  • He would be a plus bat in lineup (career 0.837 OPS vs. 2021 Angels Team 0.717 OPS).

  • Signing Correa would prevent the Astros from signing a projected 5+ WAR player in the division.

  • Projected 2022 CBT $185M and over $59 off of CBT payroll in 2023. They could afford him.

  • Correa would be a big help to defense that had -29 DRS in 2021

Why won't they want Correa?

  • Angels have been burned by longterm contracts (Pujols and Hamilton)

  • Angels need pitching help more than bats

  • According to Baseball America, the Angels #3 (Paris) and #5 (Jackson) prospects are both projected as 50 grade SS with ETA of 2023. Both MAY not end up as true SS, so the prospect option may not be as viable as other teams.

Odds of signing Correa - 40%


The remaining 20% of odds would be spread over most of the remaining teams in the league including the Tigers and the Cubs.


I believe the most likely place for Correa to sign is the Los Angeles Angels. I know this is not what Astros fans want to hear but I try to keep it real for you all.


Tell me who you think will sign Correa in the Forums.


Statistics from Fangraphs.com and prospect data from BaseballAmerica.com.

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