With apologies to Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II and in-house parody songwriter Mr. Bill …..
(A nun wearing Astros’ gear breaks into song)
He makes a slide and breaks his leg
His thumb has got a tear
He never can stay on the field
Seems like he might not care
And underneath his ball cap he has questions in his head
I even heard him singing wearing HEB red
He always misses time each year But his penitence is real
Sometimes he’s rubbed the wrong way
And won’t sign an extension deal
I hate to have to say so
But I very firmly feel
Young Carlos will probably go
(Another nun wearing a Correa jersey takes a turn)
I’d like to say a word in his defense
Correa…is better than Hunter Pence
(A full chorus of nuns in orange and blue habits dances forth)
How do you solve a problem like Correa?
How do you keep a star whose New York bound?
How do you find the words that mean Correa?
A slugging shortstop! A spoiled diva! A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell him
Many a thing he ought to understand
But how do you make him stay
When the bright lights are far away
How do you keep a snowflake from melting on the sand?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Correa?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
The only thing odder than Carlos Correa’s IL stay due to a cracked rib stemming from a massage may be the standards against which his team contributions are judged. Carlos has been in the majors for almost 4-1/2 years, but in that time he has played in 521 games, a little more than 3 full seasons of games. And that is the rub. He is the ultimate tease as he produces so well, but not for very long.
It began in 2014 in the minors as he played 62 games before breaking his leg and missing the rest of the season. He was healthy in 2015 (called up to the majors for most of the season and winning the Rookie of the Year) and 2016, where he was good, but not great like in 2015. In 2017 he played excellently for 109 games with a torn thumb ligament interrupting his season. In 2018 a bad back held him to 110 games and likely hurt his contributions in those games he did play. Here we are in 2019 and it looks like another 110 game or so season with his over aggressive masseuse taking the blame.
He has two more seasons here after this with arbitration taking him through 2021 and then the feeling is he will go elsewhere. There has been a sense for a time that he is more about him than the team, maybe a chunk of that coming from his post-WS game proposal of marriage, which while unique seemed to take the focus away from the ultimate team win. Is that fair? Who knows, what is inside his heart, but there is a gut feeling that he is headed for the big city lights when things end here. There are thoughts that he can (and maybe should) be replaced by Alex Bregman and sent packing before he leaves of his own volition.
Some things to be aware of relative to young Carlos:
- His 84 HRs and his 322 RBIs while playing SS are both career bests for any Houston SS ever, after only 489 games. His career .833 OPS is 50 points ahead of the next best team SS (Bill Spiers)
- Correa has had the three best seasons of HR hitting at SS for the Astros with 24, 22 and 20 (tied with Dickie Thon) and four of the top six seasons.
- He also has the top RBI season at SS (96) and four of the top nine seasons in Astros SS history.
- His .811 OPS from 2016 is 2nd all time for Astro SS (behind Denis Menke) but if he had had enough ABs to qualify, he would hold the 1, and 2 spots for his 2017 (.941) and 2015 (.857) seasons.
- Even with missing a good chunk of this season – he will again put up numbers that will be probably top 10 for all of the Houston SS seasons over the franchise history as in only 50 games he had 11 HRs and 35 RBIs and had put up a strong slash of .315 BA / .360 OBP/ .907 OPS.
- Oh and he is a darned good SS, also.
So, do the Astros have a problem in Correa? By the end of this season they will have paid him about $7.5 million in his career and gotten back much more than that back in production. His arbitration number will go up the next two seasons, but will be toned down a bit by his injuries. He can’t be relied upon to play a whole season. He can be relied upon to produce at a high level when he does play.
Where do the Astros go on this?
- Do they ride him to the end of control (after the 2021 season) and move on?
- Do they look for a chance to trade him (some time between the 2020 trade deadline and the off-season after the 2020 season)?
- Do they try to extend him while his salary numbers might be slightly depressed?