Seager signed a huge 10-year, $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers, who also secured Semien on a seven-year, $175 million pact.
Baez put pen to paper on a six-year, $140 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.
Story and Correa, however, decided to wait until after the lockout, knowing that their markets could be affected, for better or worse, depending on how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) looks.
While there was a chance their market would diminish with teams finding solutions for their respective shortstop situations, there apparently are more pros than cons to their decision to wait.
The Competitive Balance Tax Could Increase
Correa, in particular, appears to be primed to get paid no matter what, but there are still teams looking for a top shortstop and they could have more willingness to spend.
In the CBA negotiations, the Players Association wants to increase the competitive balance tax, or luxury tax, so that players get more lucrative deals.
If that’s the case, Correa could see his salary demands met.
The expectation all along was that he signed for, at least, Francisco Lindor money.
Lindor was extended last season and signed a 10-year, $341 million contract with the New York Mets.
The two players are comparable and on a similar talent tier, but Correa is 27 and on the open market, and should be able to at least match it.
If he doesn’t quite match it, it feels safe to say he will, at the very least, get $300 million.
Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the former Houston Astros shortstop wants between $330 million and $350 million.
Carlos Correa’s position before the lockout (or agent switch) was that he wanted $330M to $350M. But $330M was the clear minimum ask. Will still be interesting to see if he can beat Corey Seager’s $325M deal.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2022
Seager’s deal was somewhat surprising, but it’s likely that Texas, as a rebuilding team, had to outbid everyone to get him.
Although Seager and Correa are also comparable, the latter is seen as the gold standard in free agency, and surely would want to top the former Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2020 World Series MVP.
There Are Several Potential Suitors
He has a good chance to do it because there will be suitors: the New York Yankees have perhaps the most evident shortstop need among all MLB teams; the Boston Red Sox could need to replace Xander Bogaerts after 2022, the Seattle Mariners want to make a splash, the Astros can’t be counted out, the Mets have an unlimited budget, and the Philadelphia Phillies want a star infielder because Didi Gregorius is not cutting it.
The Chicago Cubs could also enter the mix if they don’t feel good about their internal options, mainly Nico Hoerner.
The combination of at least six or seven interested teams and a higher salary “cap” is all Correa needed to hear.
The star infielder, who hit .279/.366/.485 in 2022 with 26 home runs, 104 runs, 92 RBI, and 5.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), is preparing for a record contract, as he switched agents to Scott Boras this week.
Free agent SS Carlos Correa has hired Scott Boras as his agent, Correa tells ESPN.
In a statement he said: “I have made the decision to hire Boras Corporation to represent me moving forward. Boras Corporation offers the highest level of baseball expertise and proven experience.”
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 19, 2022
Boras is the most powerful and influential agent in MLB, and has been for years.
At this point, Correa’s floor appears to be the $325 million Seager got from the Rangers.
There isn’t any reason why he can’t get more, and topping Lindor is also a possibility.