4 Reasons the Astros Should Do Anything to Re-Sign Carlos Correa, and 4 Reasons They Shouldn't

Keep him or let him go? That is the question the Astros face with Carlos Correa.
Keep him or let him go? That is the question the Astros face with Carlos Correa. Photo by Jack Gorman
Should they or shouldn't they? For some fans, no matter what the cost, the Astros must keep Carlos Correa. But, judging by their five-year, $32 million-per-year offer, the team is not expecting their superstar shortstop to return. Correa, 27, reportedly wants a deal over nine or ten total seasons.

Money is not the problem for the team or the player, length of contract, however, most definitely is. There are compelling reasons on both sides of the argument as to whether the Astros should do anything necessary to keep Correa in an Astros uniform for the next decade, but equally compelling reasons it isn't worth it. Let's dive in.

The Case for Keeping Carlos Correa

Heart and soul of the team.

Astros players have been vocal in expressing their love for Correa. He has been with the team since they drafted him and his bonds inside the clubhouse are deep. He is also the most vocal leader on a team that has its share of leadership. It is difficult to estimate how much the loss will hurt the team psychologically and just what it could mean to the culture Correa has helped to create.

Still in his prime.

At just 27, Correa remains in the prime of his career. At his position, he should be able to retain the best of his skills for at least another five to seven seasons. And there is a good argument to be made that he could get better. He is currently one of the best 10 position players in baseball. If he stays that way, the Astros may find themselves wishing they did whatever it took to keep him in Houston.

Leaves a gaping hole at short stop.

For now, Aledmys Diaz, who started at short before coming to the Astros, would be the replacement. He has struggled with injuries and the Astros have no one behind him. Alex Bregman, who just had wrist surgery on Monday, is a natural fit at short, but his stellar defense on the hot corner places the greater need for him there. The team is hopeful minor leaguer Jeremy Peña, who was promoted to AAA last season, will eventually fill the role, but he is still expected to be at least a season away with a team that should challenge for a title again in 2022.

Would be another key loss to the Astros core.

This is the nature of sports, but it doesn't mean losing Correa and George Springer in back-to-back offseasons wouldn't hurt like hell. These are two of the most beloved Astros of all time and the core of the 2017 title team. You don't just replace guys like that. And it takes a toll on fans who don't want to see their favorite players streaming out of town.

The Case Letting Him Walk

Mega long-term deals never work out for the team.

No matter which way you slice it, the nine-plus-year deals teams make simply do not work out. By years seven and eight, they wish they could escape as players age and suffer from injury. It got so bad in Los Angeles, the Angles had to outright release Albert Pujols and still pay him. As an organization, the Astros certainly have their faults, but getting stuck in massive contracts is not one of them. They recognize that having salary flexibility is a critical component to a perennial winner.

Correa has a history of injury issues.

Speaking of injuries, if you don't count COVID-shortened 2020, Correa has played in more than 110 games only twice in his career. He's played in 110 exactly once and 109 in another. In 2019, he only managed 75. He has had a variety of injuries over the years from back problems to a bizarre broken rib supposedly at the hands of a massage therapist. Guys getting deals for a decade better not routinely miss 50, 60, 70 games. With Correa, it's a huge gamble to assume he can stay healthy for that entire time or even most of it.

Who would you sacrifice to keep him?

When you get to the crux of it, signing Correa will ultimately mean sacrificing other players. The Astros are a big market team, but not like the Yankees or the Angels or Dodgers. They are always going to have some salary restrictions not counting the league's luxury tax. So, adding $32 million per season for the next 10 years will likely mean losing any number of young talents like Yordan Alvarez or Kyle Tucker. Nevermind what the team could be losing in negotiating power on the free agent market.

The Astros have the ability to improve with youth.

If there is one thing 2021 taught us it is that we probably have underestimated the team's ability to find talent at the minor league level, including through players they have brought in via trades. They had an efficient if not spectacular platoon at the end of the season in center field and their pitching rotation was choc full of young arms. GM James Click clearly understand the value (literal and otherwise) in building from within. His approach is one that understand how important stars are, but doesn't diminish the contributions of young, developing talent. Granted, no one is going to provide a double-digit WAR at shortstop in 2022 like Correa did this season, but they probably don't need it either.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke