He is in his last year of arbitration eligibility, and is earning $11.3 million in salary in 2021.
Similar to what happened with the New York Mets and Francisco Lindor, Correa had set a deadline to negotiate a long-term deal with the Astros: Opening Day.
The deadline passed, and while Lindor got his monster deal (10 years, $341 million), Correa rejected a six-year, $120 million offer from the Astros.
Houston #Astros prized shortstop Carlos Correa confirms that he was offered a 6-year, $120 million deal, as @JonHeyman reported, and that no contract talks have since ensued. He’s prepared to test free agency this winter.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 26, 2021
At the time, Correa said he thought the offer was too low.
According to NBC, these were his words:
“The first offer I thought it was really low, and if that’s how they feel about me and that’s where we stand, then I guess I will go out there and play and try to win another championship for the city of Houston and then explore free agency.”
So far, playing out the season and waiting for free agency has been a smart decision for him.
The talented 26-year-old shortstop is hitting .288/.385/.510 with 16 home runs and a .895 OPS.
Carlos Correa’s MVP stock right now📈📈 #ForTheH
— Aidan Resnick (@AidanResnick) June 30, 2021
Correa has scored 61 runs and driven in 52, and projects to finish near or above 100 in both categories at the end of the year.
The 2021 season has certainly been a rebound for him, after finishing 2020 with a .709 OPS.
A Perfect Age To Test Free Agency
Truth be told, Correa is in a perfect position to test the free agent waters after the campaign.
He will be 27 when the season ends, which is a perfect age because he is still at his physical prime but has loads of experience.
In fact, Correa may not be well-liked by everybody, but there is no denying that he has more than just a few big hits in the postseason, when it counts.
He has won a World Series with Houston in 2017, and advanced to another one in 2019, which the Astros dropped in seven games.
Correa was there on both occasions, accumulating some valuable October pedigree.
Correa is actually part of a group of top shortstops that will hit the market after the season.
Will The Astros Be Able To Retain Him?
The Astros, though, will keep Correa, as they are making a very serious push for the World Series once again.
They will hope to retain him after the campaign, but they will need to improve their offer.
Correa may be able to earn a similar contract to Story, since he is more than a year younger and has proven success outside of a hitting-friendly environment.
There is no telling what kind of deal is Correa demanding, but if he was offended by Houston’s six-year, $120 million offer, one would think he wants to push for a $200 million deal.
If George Springer got a six-year pact as a 31-year-old, Correa may be able to get more years.
In the end, he may be able to get a seven-year, $180 million deal or something in that neighborhood.