As soon as we finish this week, Thanksgiving week, the MLB hot stove should finally get hot. Winter gatherings are scheduled for early December, and there is usually quite a bit of action before Christmas approaches. One of the biggest free agents on the market is Carlos Correa.
Correa, 28, became a free agent last offseason but did not find a long-term contract to his liking. He entered into a three-year contract with the Twins that had a one-year opt-out clause, and most people knew from the start that it was basically a one-year contract. Now he’s feeling the ground again.
Where can he be? Let’s take a look at the most likely touchdown points, and yes, we’ve ruled out over half the league before we even started. Most likely, he has already done the same, so why don’t we do the same?
The ship sailed with the Astros. The rest can’t or don’t want to afford the deal that Correa will get.
Unlikely, but not impossible
21. Rocky Mountains
17. Blue Jays
15. White Sox
The funds are there and the depth chart could be shuffled around a bit, but that’s just not in their plans, otherwise Correa wouldn’t have signed there.
14. Angels – I don’t think they’re going to add another mega contract to the books, especially with rumors that they might trade Shohei Otani (they denied the rumors, but there’s a reason they exist). In addition, the owner Arte Moreno is going to sell the team. If somehow the sale happens quickly and the new owner has time to make a splash, perhaps it is possible. You will never know.
13. Diamondbacks “They look ready to turn the corner and fight again. They also have pretty low wages and can spend a ton of money this off season. The roster is also heavily left-handed right now, and the D-Backs are said to be focusing on right-handed strength in the off-season. Correa ticks this box. Are they willing to spend what it takes to convince Correa to join a team that certainly can’t compete with the Dodgers for a division title right now? That’s where the gap is for me.
12. Parents It looks like the Padres have reached, or at least are close to, their salary cap and filling the rotation should be a higher priority than a luxury like Correa. On the other hand, he is Carlos Freaking Correa. Will they be able to surprise and pull off another superstar heist? A line-up with Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Carlos Correa and Fernando Tatis Jr. would be pretty damn funny. But I don’t see it.
11. Sailors – Club president Jerry Dipoto keeps insisting that their shortstop is JP Crawford and Correa is not signing any contracts to change positions. This year, however, Dipoto seemed less hardcore, saying that Crawford would definitely remain the starting shortstop and simply said it was “probably” but also left open the possibility of adding a superstar. Will Correa want to sign with a club that has been chanting the word “cheater” to him for the past few years?
Priorities lie elsewhere, but don’t discount them
10. Withstand It looks like the Braves are going to re-sign Dansby Swanson or hand over the keys to young Vaughn Grissom. However, they should not act in this way. Especially with how much money they’ve saved on elite talent by signing players like Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzy Albis and Michael Harris early and cheap, there’s room for an outside recruit like Correa. However, there is a suspicion that this is not happening.
9. Cardinals – Pitching and catching are their priorities, although they could move Tommy Edman back to second base and use some average infield depth to trade for pitching. Correa would be a great fit and they have the financial capacity to make such a splash. It’s not that they often rise so high in free will, no. It looks like things should have broken just right too, since Derrick Gould of St. Louis Post-Dispatch says, “The Cardinals hang out on the fringes to see where the market goes next.”
8. Red Sox – Keeping Xander Bogarts is their priority, apparently. If he leaves, the Red Sox could turn to Correa, although Trea Turner thinks it’s more likely. Of course, it is likely that they will bring Trevor Story back to the shortstop and strengthen the roster in other, more economical (read: cheap) ways. However, it would be foolish to completely ignore them here.
7. Yankees “If the Yankees don’t keep Aaron Judge, I’ll probably make them the favorite here. Instead, I took them in seventh place. That’s how confident I am that the Yankees will re-sign Judge. In doing so, they will exclude themselves from consideration of any other mega deal with free agents, at least on the side of the position player. To be clear, they could afford to re-sign Judge and Correa. The current property just doesn’t tend to spend that much money on wages. If somehow the Yankees lose to Judge, they’ll be the favorites to fight for Correa.
I bet that Judge will re-sign with the Yankees, and Correa will be on one of the next six teams.
6. Dodgers – They will try to re-sign Trea Turner before looking at Correa and the Dodgers also need to decide the starting pitch (maybe Justin Verlander or Jacob de Grom?). Additionally, there are rumors that the Dodgers are at least mildly concerned about the backlash from fans over the signing of the 2017 Astros kingpin. If things go in the direction where Correa makes the most sense for the Dodgers, it shouldn’t and won’t matter. Fans can get over a lot if it means the player is helping their team win.
5. Phyllis Fresh from a trip to the World Series with money to spend and a possible hole in the shortstop (Gene Segura is a free agent and Bryson Stott can play second base), the Phillies are great for a free agent shortstop. If we were to rank the teams based only on the fact that they got one of the biggest teams, they would rank higher (probably first place). However, with Correa, the Phillies moved down the list a little, simply because rumors about them are much more often associated with Traya Turner and Xander Bogarts. Correa is not a consolation prize, so we’ll leave Filov at number five.
4. Giants – Getting Aaron Judge home (somewhat close) to the Bay Area seems to be a top priority. They will also have to deal with moving Brandon Crawford out of the shortstop, but that will prove to be a minor hurdle if they have the opportunity to sign a player of Correa’s caliber. There’s money to be spent and the Giants seem to be interested in a long offseason, so they’re the big players here. Assuming I’m right that the Yankees keep Judge, will Correa stay on the Giants’ board of directors? Time can certainly be a problem.
3. Orioles – With 31 more wins in 2022 than the previous year, raising their first win record since 2016, the Orioles are poised to move into permanent challenger status. They could spend a fortune on leeway, as Baseball-Reference now projects their 2023 salary at a measly $33.8 million. With catcher Adli Ratchman and infielder Gunnar Henderson, we’ve already seen the start of a wave of prospects hitting big players. Correa would have given them a true superstar with championship experience to spearhead the attack.
There are questions, of course. Will they prioritize a top-notch opening pitch over adding Correa? How will new general manager Mike Elias handle this phase of the reorganization? We’ve only seen him recover up to this point, and he may not want to risk big free agent deals. On the other hand, maybe he looks like Theo Epstein and will go crazy when he feels the situation calls for it. We just don’t know yet.
And obviously Correa must want to be there too. Maybe he would prefer to go somewhere else. It’s hard to read anything here because just a year ago the Orioles were in an extreme overhaul and completely out of date.
2. Gemini “In this case, we know that Correa is okay with signing in Minnesota because he only did so last offseason. He had a great season there in 2022 and the Twins are said to be keen to have him back. They are reportedly willing to get creative and do whatever they can to keep his services, and although it is a small market, they have wealthy owners. Yes, the Twins crashed last season, but it’s not Correa’s fault. He hit .361/.423/.585 in his last 37 games.
At the beginning of the season, Correa said he was ready to spend the rest of his career with the Twins. Now they have a chance, but they will have to fork out, because competition from some organizations with big pockets must be fierce.
1. Cubs – The Cubs are ready to get back into the fight after years of replenishing the farm system and especially after a successful second half (they went 39-31 after the All-Star break). Shortstop Nico Horner led the team in WAR (4.5) last year, but he can play second base and isn’t the type of super-duper star that should make a team like the Cubs avoid negotiating with Correa-level talent. .
Rumors so far this offseason have been that the Cubs are after one of the big name shortstops we’ve mentioned here (Correa, Turner, Bogarts, Swanson), Correa is the best of the group and possibly one of them. the larger market players are busy elsewhere (see above).
The only downside to this is that the Cubs, under Jed Hoyer, have made no secret of it that they would like to avoid taking too long trades. I mean, they’d rather do something like six or…