Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, a proven regular season and postseason performer, is now free to sign with any team after the 2021 campaign ended without a contract extension that kept him in Texas for the long-term.
He is at a perfect age, 27, and comes from putting strong enough numbers across the board to think he can approach or surpass $200 million.
In 148 games in 2021, Correa scored 104 runs, drove in 92, hit 26 home runs, batted .279, and had a .850 OPS.
All that while being arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball, with 12 Outs Above Average and 21 Defensive Runs Saved.
He has the perfect resume, and he will be paid handsomely.
The Astros tried to extend him before the season but their offers, which topped out in the $120 million range, were rejected.
Which five teams have a good chance of securing his services?
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers brought in a shortstop, Trea Turner, at the trade deadline.
Turner is one of the best of the league at his position, but played second base because Corey Seager was the starting shortstop.
Seager, however, is also a free agent.
If the Dodgers can’t or don’t want to sign Seager (whose bat is slightly better than Correa’s, but his defense is much worse), Correa can be a perfect alternative.
4. New York Mets
The New York Mets already traded for (and extended) their shortstop of the future before the season, with Francisco Lindor committing his future to the Big Apple.
However, there could be room for another top infielder if they don’t bring Javier Baez back.
The Mets have the desire of being ultra-competitive, and they have the resources, too.
They don’t have an opening at shortstop, but they may upgrade second or third base.
If either Correa or Lindor is interested in changing positions, it could be doable.
Lindor and Correa (and Baez) are all countrymen and have played on the Puerto Rican baseball team before.
3. Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers shocked the baseball world with a solid campaign in 2021.
Correa has the potential to be that missing piece for the Tigers.
His signing alone could make them very, very competitive, and the franchise has money to spend.
— griffin hall (@GHall_17) November 3, 2021
Could Correa consider the Tigers?
2. New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are tired of experiments at shortstop, and have said they’ll look for a shortstop.
Done are the days Gleyber Torres occupied the position, as he was moved to second base.
But they aren’t ready now, and the franchise could decide to bring in a top shortstop.
The Yankees haven’t had a solid defensive shortstop in a while, so Correa would fit like a glove.
There may be some bad blood and resentment by some fans because of Correa’s involvement in the sign-stealing scandal of 2017, but if he will make the Yankees better, there should be no debate.
Carlos Correa on the Yankees is going to be the biggest villain of all time and will absolutely relish the role I can’t wait
— Future 1-Time Big East POY RJ Cole (@vado_duro) November 4, 2021
1. Houston Astros
Of course, Correa could always make a U-turn and re-sign with the Astros.
It’s not particularly likely, but it’s possible.
For them, it’s a matter of recognizing that shortstops like Correa don’t come along very often.
Never rule out Correa returning to Houston.