Updated: Mar 20, 2022
Today we will officially close the book on the Carlos Correa era with the Astros. This and it's partner article "Why Astros Why" will provide you my perspective on how this team's front man and vocal leader - Carlos Correa- got to the position of no longer being with the Astros.
I want to be clear and to differentiate this from my normal work. This is far more opinion and projecting motives work here. There will be less facts and numbers. I admit this upfront- I am in the grieving process with regard to Correa leaving. Let's work through it together.
Let's start with what I think Carlos wanted. I believe that Carlos Correa believes he is the best SS in baseball. I think he knows he may not have proven that yet, but I believe he thinks that this is true. Correa is a proud man. He defends his honor and those of his teammates furiously. I have stated on Twitter many times that a pissed off Correa is usually an extremely good Correa. He wants to be loved and respected as a GREAT baseball player. Money talks at this point in time. This off-season has been humbling I believe for Carlos.
Specifically, what did Carlos want in this contract? How did it play out?
A Long Term Deal
Correa looks at his peers - Lindor and Seager- and sees they got what? A ten-year contract. This is what Correa wanted,
In the January article "Correa's Best Options" I wrote about the long term deal issue and I said this:
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.
Correa has a back injury history. He has been guarded with his medical data. Many believe he is fine now, but there is a risk there that kept many teams from entering the Correa sweepstakes.
Correa wanted a long term deal and by the time he signed few teams were interested. I believe the waiting game was a terrible strategy for Correa, His original agents served his interests poorly.
A high AAV
The team willing to sign Correa needed to allow Correa to be in the ballpark of Lindor ($34M AAV) and Seager ($32.5M AAV).
In general, I think Correa had a market in this range from multiple teams. The CBT rising to $230M even made it possible for the Astros.
The chance to win championships
Correa loves the spotlight. He thrives on the pressure of the postseason. The team he wanted to go to needed to be good or have a good future ahead. Team like the Rangers, Tigers, and Orioles all could present a Correa led positive future.
You can't always get what you want
Correa entered this Free Agent market with multiple other SS. There was a lot of positioning in negotiations.
Before the 2021 season, the Astros offered Correa $120M/6 yrs. This was a slap in the face to Correa. It was a BS offer and I believe it eliminated any negotiating advantage the Astros had in 2022. Correa never forgave the Astros for this low ball offer. I considered Correa gone at this point.
As early as October 2020 I had tweeted THIS.
Replying to @LarryTheGMman and @ErinAstrosFan I think the Astros should do this but there is an injury risk still. I think a 7-year $214MM deal is a deal Correa will sign. I think if you wait until he becomes a free agent the Yankees or someone offers him an 8-year $320MM deal assuming he stays healthy in 2021.
The teams that seemed like the best fits were in January 2022 generally went other directions in mid-March 2022 and the time was running out on Carlos
Astros- We will deep Dive what happened there from an Astros perspective in "Why Astros Why"
Angels- Decided to devote resources to pitching- specifically RP (Tepera/ Bradley 3/17)
Phillies- Decided to focus on OF/DH upgrade (Schwarber 3/16 and Castellanos 3/18) and keep Gregorius
Yankees- traded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa 3/13, signed Rizzo 3/15, IKF likely took them out of SS market
The Angels and the Phillies COULD have still gone after Correa on 3/18 but he was no longer a priority.
Carlos was in a no win situation. John Granato tweeted this on. 3/19
John Granato @johngranato The Astros ghosted Carlos Correa this week. James Click said he would get back to them and never did and Jim Crane did not respond at all to Scott Boras’ texts. 12:35 PM · Mar 19, 2022 from Houston, TX·Twitter for iPhone
I do not know if this is true. Some have collaborated this.
The Orioles (295/10) and Tigers (275/10) may or may not have offered Correa ten year deals. The reporting has been all over the place. The general wisdom is that the Tigers offer was real and that the Orioles deal was not.
On 11/6/21, Mark Berman reported that the Astros offered Correa a $160M/5 Yr deal. It is not even clear today if that deal had opt outs or was still available on 3/18,
Clearly on the night of 3/18, Correa's options are limited. Free agency has not given him what he wanted. Boras was working other options. I have added the major teams in my list or rumored to have made an offer. Either the team, length, or AAV were not right.
What is Carlos Correa supposed to do?
I believe Correa and Boras decided to prioritize AAV and opt outs over anything else as soon as the lockout was over. One option that came into play late included the Twins.
The Twins deal (although it is not officially announced as of 3/20 3PM CT) is reportedly for $105M for 3 years and includes opt outs after year one and two. This deal makes Correa the highest paid SS in the MLB on a AAV basis. This allows the deal to be spun as a win for Correa and for him to claim he is being rewarded as the best SS in the MLB. (Remember the pride issue.)
The opt outs make it available for Correa to
- have another great year and stay healthy and then seek a long term deal after that season
- insurance to have generational money even if he has a serious injury and stays opted in.
This gives Correa a degree of control that he wanted and that many teams would not give a player. Correa is essentially setting up a redo at Free Agency while he is still young and the SS market is less crowded.
This deal did not check all of the boxes but it was the best option apparently on 3/18.
I have stated this as well. In the contract war between Correa and the Astros I believe what Boras was doing was giving the Astros what they said they wanted. The were willing to pay Carlos short term the Astros said. The deal Boras made with the Twins did that. If Boras called to give the Astros a chance to match and Jim Crane did not respond, you as an Astros fan should be pissed. However, the Astros were NOT willing to give Correa the control of when he went back into the free agent market. I believe this is horribly short sided by the Astros.
What about the Houston Fans?
Fans tend to have a romantic view on sports almost viewing things through traditional human relationship paradigms. This is just not a healthy way to approach any part of the entertainment business. It is a business. Both Correa and the Astros have made that clear with each other. Correa was a FREE agent. He is not required to accept an offer he considers worse to make you happy.
Fans are apparently mad that Correa did not accept a $160M total value contract that would have taken him past the window where players are getting long term deals. VERY few greater than 4-yr deals occur in age 32+ year. This is included in the CBA articles I wrote.
Correa intends to come back to Free Agency before he is 30. He will hope Boras can get him a seven year plus deal at that time. The Astros deal of $160M/5 would have made this very unlikely.
This is why this was the best of bad options for Correa.
If you only read this article you are only getting part of the analysis. Make sure to read the follow-up - "Why Astros Why"
Please let me know what you think on the Forums here.
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