As the regular season draws to a close, the Houston Astros are set to embark on their fourth straight playoff series. However, the offseason has started for many teams.
This means that the blueprint for league organizations is being formulated on how to approach free agencies. No position player is going to spark more conversation in these strategy sessions than impending free agent Carlos Correa.
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Discussions about Carlos Correa’s free agency are already heating up as the playoffs approach.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Detroit Tigers have already added a reunion of Correa and AJ Hinch to their wishlist. There is also various speculation around the league that the Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees are also in the mix for Correa.
There was a point in midsummer when many Astros fans were convinced Correa was washed up and not worth stepping down in the offseason at all. You know who you are. Don’t make me take these receipts! All kidding aside, Correa did really do it for the Astros down the stretch.
Obviously, the struggling bullpen, injuries and general inconsistency really slowed down all of the Astros in the second half of the season. Correa finally broke her slump around July 25. Since that time, Correa has reduced .298 / .371 / .491 with nine home runs and thirty-six RBIs.
Correa’s full stats for the 2021 season aren’t exactly shocking. He still managed to stay patient and be relevant in a number of ways. Despite the epic midseason slump, Correa has reached career highs in both circuits and racing.
He also placed in the top ten when it comes to player wins in an offensive position, base percentage and points scored. Of course, he’s been out of this world on the defensive side of the Diamond. A big reason for this performance was Correa’s ability to stay on the pitch, posting the second best games in a season of his career.
I wrote earlier in the season that Correa might not be a lock for the Gold Glove prize at the shortstop position. This suggestion appears to have changed course significantly. From a defensive run above the substitution perspective, no other MLB player matches Correa.
I could start to list a bunch of advanced defensive measures to support this. If Correa doesn’t win a Golden Glove at this point, I call the police because there would have been a theft.
So, I probably told you what you already know about Correa. It shouldn’t be possible to convince you to want the Astros to resign him at this point. Correa is a generational shortstop talent. A player who has become a true superstar, right here in the Astros organization.
Of course, it’s likely that Correa will never post a stolen base-record forty / twenty homerun in a season as Fernando Tatis Jr. Correa has more than proven to be a top attacking talent, and now defensive, from the league and will order a price tag to go with it.
Many casual fans tend to lean on general manager James Click to explain why this deal was not done before the start of the season. First off, when it came time to negotiate, Correa had failed to prove that he could stay healthy and be productive for a full season. In addition, Correa was coming out of a lower-than-normal 2020 campaign.
Second, this is absolutely not Click’s last call. The type of contract Correa orders will no doubt require the approval of Astros owner Jim Crane. Based on the track record at this point, Jim Crane is willing to spend the money, but not at the expense of the team’s long term success.
The Astros have ceded or accepted the contracts of Bregman at $ 20 million AAV, Altuve at $ 23 million AAV, Verlander at $ 33 million AAV and Greinke at $ 34 million AAV. However, these agreements did not have long durations.
With the aforementioned Verlander and Greinke contracts hitting the books after this season, there is certainly flexibility to deliver another contract of high average annual value. The length of the contract seems to be the stopping point in all of this. I’m not a baseball insider at all. However, I am a CFO by profession.
Understanding that Major League Baseball is a for-profit business, I know historical financial data and ROI come into play. I don’t believe that Click and Crane is unwilling to negotiate. We just need to understand that “number” men are looking at the latter part of a long term deal with a fine tooth comb.
You can just watch and see how these contracts have evolved in the past. Traditionally, they have not performed well as the player ages, subsequently decreasing in health and performance. You can take a look at contracts from David Price, Giancarlo Stanton, or even as tall as he was, Albert Pujols, for examples.
If a team signs a player for a contract of more than five years, you will simply have to accept that the player may no longer be relevant in the latter part of his career, if he has health issues or if he is ‘goes. – ground problems preventing him from playing. At this point, a contract with an average annual value of this size that might prove to be impossible to negotiate, or to allow a GM to keep a competitive field team on budget.
âIf they want to keep me here, I’ll be happy to stay here. If they don’t see me here long term, I’ll go play for someone else, âCorrea said in early September. âThis decision is not in my hands. The only thing that is in my hands is how I perform on the field and how I help my team win baseball games.
Believe it or not, I’m not trying to dissuade the Astros from signing Correa. Quite the contrary. I just want to shed some light on the business side of baseball. It’s not always about the clubhouse and fans love player XYZ, he plays well, so he should be stepped down.
There are many mobile financial elements that organizations consider when looking at free agents. In addition to the previously internal financial factors to consider, we also need to consider how the external financial factors, or in other words, the market plays out.
The San Diego Padres and New York Mets have exploded the shortstop market in dollar terms with the contracts they awarded to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Francisco Lindor, respectively.
However, the free agent market this offseason is saturated with several renowned shortstops. In addition to Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and Javier Baez could be shortstop candidates for teams to consider.
Taking into account Correa’s performance in the regular and playoffs, his health record, his age and impending free agents. I don’t really see how this young man doesn’t get a contract worth an average of $ 30 million annually over, at the very least, eight years. My gut tells me the Astros just don’t want to play this.
It’s plausible that winning the playoffs could help in this particular negotiation between Correa and the Astros. The increased revenue generated by a World Series victory could spur Jim Crane and Astros on a big step forward to keep the core as it is today.
As Climbing Tal’s Hill contributor Paul Conlon wrote, “Correa is a guy who has consistently proven he can perform in the playoffs.” Another epic performance this year could be what convinces the Astros to spend long years.
Ultimately, no one really knows enough information to discern anything beyond pure speculation. All we can do is enjoy our last games with Correa and see how the playoffs go. The Astros close their regular season Sunday at 2:10 p.m. with Jose Urquidy lining up with southpaw Cole Irvin.