The Detroit Tigers flexed some financial muscle on Monday, signing lefty Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million deal. While landing the 28-year-old starter was a big deal, Detroit shouldn't be done spending yet. The Tigers' next move should be making a Godfather offer to Carlos Correa.
Rodriguez was a great pickup for Detroit, given his competitive nature and the team's young staff. He's much better than the 4.74 ERA he posted in 2021. Putting him out front of a rotation that features young hurlers Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning and you can see how things fit together. Given the team's addition of two-time Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart, it's obvious shoring up the pitching staff was a huge priority for the franchise. But that can't be it for the offseason.
The Tigers badly need a shortstop and have had a hole at the position for years. There are several high-profile shortstops available this offseason. The list starts with Correa, but also includes Corey Seager, Trevor Story and others. But Correa is the obvious fit here. Especially for an offense that finished 11th in the AL with a OPS of .707.
Correa is the best free agent available this winter and has an obvious connection to Detroit. Tigers manager A.J. Hinch helped lead Correa to a World Series title in 2017. While that title is obviously tainted, the pair still worked together for years and turned Houston into a juggernaut in the American League.
It will take huge money and a lot of years to get Correa to Detroit. He turned down six years and $120 million to return to the Astros. He wants more than that. But he's a 27-year-old shortstop with a World Series ring, two All-Star appearances, a Gold Glove and a Platinum Glove, both coming this year. He's coming off a great season in which he slashed .279/.366/.485, with 26 home runs and 92 RBI. He also set a career-high with a 5.8 fWAR.
Correa is peaking right now. If the Tigers are serious about moving from rebuilding to contending, they'll need a two-way star like him to lead the way into the future. He's everything they don't currently have and could play the role of Master Splinter to the rest of the roster.
The Tigers have a chance to change the direction of their franchise this offseason. They have already secured a frontline starter and a Gold Glove catcher. Now they need to find a true face of the franchise. Carlos Correa is that guy.
The Tigers need to make it happen.