Three Free Agency Destinations For Carlos Correa
Now that baseball is officially all the way back for 2022, free agents will begin to fly off the board left and right. There is no bigger free agent left on the market than Carlos Correa. Correa is in line to receive an absolutely massive deal from someone, although there have been no substantive rumors to suggest who that might be yet.
Who will be the team to dole out Correa's mega-deal? Here are three possible options.
New York Yankees
The Yankees' hole at shortstop was obvious all last season and one of their top priorities heading into the offseason was finding a new one. They may ultimately choose a stop-gap option rather than giving Correa a massive bag considering Aaron Judge will be a free agent next year and Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million deal still has seven seasons remaining. But should they decide to imitate the Yankees of old and pony up whatever is necessary to secure high-end talent, Correa is their man. He'd be another dangerous bat in the lineup but (most importantly) is rock-solid defensively and won both a Gold Glove and Platinum Glove in 2021. The Yankees don't necessarily need another big hitter, but they do need reinforcements defensively, and Correa's skills in the field combined with his All-Star resume make him an obvious choice. It's far from a guarantee, but it wouldn't be a surprise. It's the Yankees, after all.
Returning to Houston seemed like the obvious move for Correa. He helped get them to the World Series last year and has played a significant role in their dominant stretch over the last five years (sign-stealing debacle aside). But there was little movement on that front before the lockout. Now that might change. The Astros could do worse by shelling out cash in order to keep their championship core together. It would be tricky, though. The Astros aren't going to give out a 10-year contract like the one Correa is undoubtedly seeking and they do have some insurance at short in the form of Alex Bregman, who could shift over if needed. If Houston is willing to reach Correa's yearly salary demands and he's agreeable to a shorter deal in the five-year range, a deal could be struck. It's a lot of ifs, though.
The Cubs are an interesting landing spot for Correa. It's still unclear which direction the franchise wants to go; they sold off any players of worth at the deadline last year and didn't really do much when free agency initially opened before the lockout last fall. But they are the Cubs, residing in one of the league's biggest markets and the cross-town White Sox are far superior in talent. If this Chicago team feels tempted to enter an arms race with their rivals on the South Side, Correa is the easy pickup.
However, rumors suggest the Cubs are close to a deal with Andrelton Simmons. If that's true, it probably takes Chicago out of the running unless they want to load up in the middle and have one of the two play second. Regardless, signing Correa would give the team a new franchise face after shipping out the likes of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber in 2021. They don't have any other big-money players on the roster. Correa wouldn't fix all the team's issues, but the Cubs could do far worse than inking him to be the foundation of their next era of competitiveness.