So it was then that on Friday afternoon, Astros owner Jim Crane, GM James Click, and manager Dusty baker (re-upped for one more season in 2022, so yay Dusty!) all met with the media for a "state of the team" style press conference. The biggest topic in Houston baseball (and arguably around the country, once free agency began this week) was addressed — "What happens now with free agent shortstop Carlos Correa?"
Jim Crane tried to make things as clear as possible:
On Saturday afternoon, we got definition on what exactly the Astros' "best foot" entailed, at least on a first swing in what is hopefully some extended negotiations:
Jim Crane on James Click saying the Astros will put their best foot forward in trying to retain Carlos Correa:”I guess you’re looking for a number.We kind of know where he’s looking.We’re gonna try to..give him something that fits into our formula & hope it fits into his formula” pic.twitter.com/v8I5O2WCQb— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 5, 2021
Correa has made no secret about the fact that he is looking for a much longer deal than the Astros are offering, probably twice as long. On the plus side for Correa, he is still young (27 years old), elite defensively, coming off his first fully healthy 162 game season in years, and has tremendous leadership qualities.
MLB sources: The @astros have offered free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa a five-year contract worth $160 million, averaging $32 million a year.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 6, 2021
On the downside, Correa HAS been banged up for extended periods over the course of his career (including troubling back issues), and offensively he is above average, but not great. As marquee free agents go, the big name non-pitchers for each free agency class over the last few years — Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, to name a few — enter free agency with far more accolades (All Star appearances, MVP votes) than Correa. FAR MORE.
That said, someone out there will offer Correa ten years. Book that. Which team is most likely to do so? Well, here is what the oddsmakers are saying. Per Sportsline:
Tigers +250So the immediate reaction here is "Wow, if the oddsmakers know things, and I feel like I want Correa back, these odds are VERY discouraging!" These odds feel like they reflect the scuttlebutt in the marketplace. Detroit has a young core, money to spend, and the manager with whom Correa spent the first five years of his career, A.J. Hinch.
The Yankees has a stated need at shortstop, and always have money to spend. (Also, known Yankee sink, Alex Rodriguez, shares an agent with Correa.) Also, the Rangers are a little like the Tigers in their life cycle (young core), and it would be a direct shot at their division and in-state rival for them to steal Correa.
Business on the hot stove is definitely about to pick up, but I would count on seeing Correa in another uniform next season. That part is quite evident.
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