How do you solve a problem like Correa?


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?

 

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154 comments on “How do you solve a problem like Correa?

  1. I’m not too worried about Tucker’s recent slump. He is slashing .299/.352/.619 with 16 extra base hits, 7 HR and 19 RBI for the month of June. A pretty good follow up to his player of the month award for May.

    I watch at least some of every RR game on MiLB.TV. Tucker is still making very hard contact and his swing looks good. Just like they did with Alvarez, teams are nibbling on corners and generally pitching around him. Unlike Alvarez, Tucker has not learned to be more patient and take his walks.

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  2. Here is why I would be willing to give up Whitely in a trade for a TOR pitcher with at least 2 remaining years of control, and why I would give him up before I gave up Tucker.

    From 2011- 2014 MLB teams selected 47 high school pitchers in the 1st round. Here’s how its turned out:

    – 51% never reached the big leagues (24)
    – 40% had elbow or shoulder surgery (20)
    – 17% are pitching in MLB with original team (8)
    – 13% are no longer pitching in affiliated baseball (6)

    The 2012 high school class is particularly horrific. Of the 15 high school pitchers taken in the first round six years ago, only one is on the active roster of the team that drafted him (Jose Berrios of the Twins). Eight of them underwent Tommy John or labrum surgery and five of them are out of baseball—before age 25.

    https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/11/19/mlb-draft-high-school-pitchers-velocity-tommy-john-surgery-problem

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    • In a nutshell:
      -The odds of Whitley making it to MLB are very low.
      – The odds of doing so without elbow or shoulder surgery are even lower.
      – There are some clouds surrounding Whitely that bring questions
      – Unless Whitely is ready to take on starter’s work load pretty quick, he will not only be unavailable this year, but at least 1/2 of 2020. He simply has to build up innings over the this season and next to be able to handle a starter’s workload in the foreseeable future.

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    • I would never give up on a young pitcher who is highly rated like Whitley at age 21. He is not on the 40-man and is not close to it. Sometime, somewhere, somebody is going to say the right thing to him and it will matter to him. The fact that he is a young man with a lot of money and a lot of talent, who has drifted is not a reason to trade him.
      The important factor to consider is if baseball is important to him or not. That is what the Astros need to discern and then they must decide how to wake him up, if it’s possible.
      One thing that gives me some hope is how he applied himself to lose all that weight in his senior year of HS. If he did it for the money, that’s a problem. If he did it to be a better pitcher, I think there is hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t disagree with anything you said. My only point was that if you are going to trade for a TOR pitcher that is more than a rental it is probably going to cost you Tucker, Alvarez or Whitley. Alvarez is untouchable. I think Tucker is ready to contribute more quickly and is more of a sure thing (not saying he is a sure thing).

        I would only trade Tucker or Whitely for a proven TOR arm with 2 years of remaining control after this season. If I had to chose which one to trade it would be Whitely.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Glad we won a much needed win last night but missed it and went to bed after Bregman struck out twice with the potential winning runs on base in the 8th and the winning run on base in the 9th.
    Just did a quick analysis over the past 12 games.
    W -3, L 9
    Runs for 37, allowed 72
    RISP 13-85
    If the guys don’t get their act together we can change our slogan from “Take it Back” to “Give it Away”.
    As to this post about CC, I’m not sure what to think. But if he’s looking ahead to the Big Payday, it sure ain’t going to happen here given the past trends. Somebody needs to pull him aside and read him the riot act (maybe already happened) because it looks like he’s moping around being unhappy. As my mother used to say, “you better straighten up and fly right or I’ll really give you something to cry (mope) about.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If Whitney played a significant role in helping us get the starter we so badly need, then he will have given us value. Maybe not what someone else gets out of him, but right now, a trade might be the best way to use him.

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    • WHEW! They HAD to win this game to stay 5 1/2 games in front of the north texas, creeps. Garrett Cole had better pitch deep in the game tomorrow because the bullpen will be spent again tomorrow. They used 7 pitchers tonight. Presley and Asuna won’t be available tomorrow. Two walkoffs in two days!! YEES!

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  5. 17-13 now. Tanaka lasted 2 outs giving up 6 in the first. Porcello got only 1 out before he got pulled after giving up his 6. I guess we’re not the only club with pitching woes. That makes Luhnow job even tougher.

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  6. daveb7…..Yep and both teams had guys who pulled up lame. Red Sox short stop, and Yakees 1st baseman. I don’t know who set it up, but they drew a sold out crowd. Did you see how the balls were FLYING out of that place! Good heavens!
    Rangers are losing 5-1 9th inning.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sandy I had to buy an HD Radio a couple of years ago because at exactly 8:17 PM 790 a.m. went dark. This year 740 takes over at 7:00 and because it’s a clear channel I can hear the games better. I have an ear plug in my other ear for these games, and my radio in my other ear. The announcers don’t bother my husband but they drive me nuts! Brownie was in the booth last week with Robert Ford and it was wonderful! Steve Sparks drives me crazy!
    Not sure Verlander has his best stuff tonight. Already gave up a 2 run homerun.

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  8. And this is why I’m a mark for Myles . I don’t like the announcers but they were right on the money…and he proved them right just now

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    • Daveb7….do you trust this bullpen to hold on to a one run lead? I sure don’t.
      I have no idea what happened to these guys in the bullpen, but lately no lead is a sure thing. Cross your fingers and toes.

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  9. Myles Straw fails to touch 3rd and has to go back instead of scoring in a previous game. Yuli stretches going to first and fails to touch the bag. The baseball gods are very angry with this team right now. But still letting them win.

    And the best managerial move of the night was taking Rondon out and putting Harris in.

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  10. 45, the boss is obviously fed up with all those Rondon walks. BB rate way up.
    K rate way down. I had an early start this morning, so I missed everything that happened after the game was tied. Good thing, because I would have been a bit uncomfortable watching Devenski closing it out. But what most impressed me most in the box score this morning was Collin McHugh striking out the side on 13 pitches. He really helps strengthen the back end of the pen and will be ready for a two inning stint soon. I sure hope our GM finds the starter we need and McHugh can remain in the pen going forward.

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  11. Michigan CFer, Jordan Brewer, is flying to Houston to sign a contract. This is important because he is the last of the Astros Top 10 draft picks and after he signs they will know how much of their draft pool money they have to play with. There are a couple of guys who they drafted that haven’t signed yet until they know how much money they have left.

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  12. In back- to- back games it has taken 10 innings to sneak a couple wins against one of the worst teams in baseball. At least 25 other teams would have beat us in those games.

    The middle of this order has to step up and start consistently producing. I for one am sick and tired of watching Altuve display ZERO plate discipline and Bregman chasing launch angle in a quest to hit HRs, only to produce roll- over and pop- ups. These 2 need to be attacking the pitches they like and driving them gap- to- gap to move people around the bases. This lineup should be scoring at will against the level of pitching we have been facing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like my last post I am of two minds on this.
      Totally agree that Altuve is doing the same thing he was doing before his injury, which is a diving across pull-centric way of hitting. Like you said – no discipline. Bregman is a weird deal – probably best exemplified the other night when he went 3 for 5 where the 3 hits led to nothing and his other two ABs were K’s with ducks on the pond. He seems to be trying to be the hero hitter with guys on base rather than taking his normal approach.

      But I never think just because a team is playing poorly that they are an automatic win. I also think that teams you play a lot like the M’s can take advantage of the exposure they get to your pitchers and hitters. Last night they laid off a lot of JV’s off-speed pitches off the plate and spoiled a lot of strikes and built that pitch count up and drew more walks than he ever allows. In the end the better team won but not until it was turned into a nail biting close game.

      So I think you are right except for where I think you are wrong and I know I sound stupid saying this.

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  13. As to Bregman and Altuve, in past years, a pitcher did not challenge them down the middle of the plate without punishment. This year, they are not making hard contact on those pitches. My opinion, we don’t need home runs from them when a single drives in a run.

    For his career, Babe Ruth hit a home run once in every 15 plate appearances. Barry Bonds once in 16.5 (even juiced?). This year – while swinging for the fences – Bregman once in 18 and Altuve once in 21.

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    • Jose Altuve is a real disappointment to me. He gave us 9 homers in his first 23 games. I still think that early barrage screwed him up. In 26 games since, just 1. The .319 OBP should relegate him to the bottom half of the line up at this point. We need the high OBP version of Jose back. If he’s healthy, then I’m comfortable in saying he’s taking a selfish approach to hitting right now.

      Bregman and those pop ups are really annoying. And his clutch stats have certainly gone backwards. But the guy still has a .391 OBP and a .919 OPS and walks more than he strikes out and is on pace to hit 40 homers, score 100 runs and give us 100 RBI’s. So I’m hoping the high leverage hits come back in the second half. I’d much rather see the 50 double 30 homer version of Alex.

      Thing is, are the coaches pushing the long ball on these guys? Maybe it’s not them alone.

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      • I am an Altuve Apologist, but let’s be honest. He is NOT making good contact.

        He has 13 multi hit games this season. 9 were in March and April . 1 in May. 3 in June. His OPS is above only Yuli, Kemp, and White. His OBP is above only Jake, Kemp and Yuli. He has been in 49 games with 46 hits.

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  14. Bregman 2019 compared to 2018:

    22% drop in barrel rate
    6% drop in hard hit rate
    6% increase in Ground Balls
    29% increase in Pop Ups
    1% drop in Line Drives
    3% increase in Fly Balls
    17% increase in Launch Angle

    BABIP is down 15% (.289 to .246), but based on hit profile BA is about where it is expected to be. BA is .266 while XBA is .271, so underperforming expected BA by 2%. WOBA is .392 while XWOBA is .374, so outperforming expected by 5%.

    He is seeing about the same number of fastballs, fewer breaking balls, and more offspeed pitches.

    2018 – FB 60.2%, .281 BA, 22HR
    2019 – FB 60.1%, .277 BA, 14 HR

    2018 – Breaking 28.6%, .306 BA, 7 HR
    2019 – Breaking 26.5%, .254 BA, 7 HR

    2018 – Offspeed 11.2%, .306 BA, 0 HR
    2019 – Offspeed 13.4%, .306 BA, 0 HR

    He is hitting .167 in the 7th inning, .152 in the 8th inning and .188 in the 9th inning. Compared to .295, .338 and .277 in same innings 2018.

    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/alex-bregman-608324?stats=career-r-hitting-mlb

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  15. -All it took to win two from Seattle was for 1OP to predict two losses.
    -All it took for Yuli to step up was for 1OP to talk about how he isn’t stepping up.
    -Now I’m going to talk bad about Cole. He won’t have it today.
    – Alex Bregman is a popup machine.
    -Myles Straw can’t help the Astros win playing SS.
    -Jake cannot continue to rake against Seattle’s starting pitcher for Sunday.
    -The Astros don’t win getaway games.
    OK, that should take care of today’s game.

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  16. I am starting to really like Straw in this lineup. When he gets on he puts tremendous pressure on every aspect of the opponents game. I think he stays over Kemp when the final sorting out of the roster happens. He is just a better hitter, fielder and baserunner. He is also younger and will be much cheaper over the next few years when Kemp hits arbitration.

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  17. I’m at work, not watching. Tubby went down on three pitches looking? When apparently Gonzalez is ether giving up walks or line drives? Can someone put my former nephew out of his misery?

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  18. Vewill1 I was thinking the exact same thing last night about Bregman, annoyed at his keeps chasing high heat, sacrificing avg for power with impactful negative results. Last season he was an absolute beast, Mr. Clutch & money in the bank spraying line drives all over the field, practically carrying this tm on his shoulders. This is the guy we’d like to see again(Even he admits batting wise he’s not where he wants to be and we see a big part of why)
    Ditto Altuve, sacrificing avg for power. Often time he looks like an underachieving MLBer, flailing away at the plate & his numbers appear to bear out this sentiment. Yes I’m complaining, I want our Boyz back hitting laser beams & being daily hero’s. I don’t care if they hit 30-40 HR’s.
    Yordan looks good back, and GS too.
    Will Hinch figure out a way to harness what should be one of the most feared lineups in baseball before & after he gets the pitching help the tm needs?

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  19. I think the Stros are in a great position to bolster their starting rotation AND be sellers by the deadline.

    My take is predicated on two undeniable things: one, there is a logjam in OF, and two, they need another solid SP by the time the playoffs start.

    There is little doubt in my mind that White is gone. I’d be shocked if he’s not DFA’d, and soon. He’s likeable, he’s a boon in the clubhouse, but he’s just not producing. And Jordan Alvarez is the real deal and WILL be the DH for the foreseeable future. So White and/or Kemp has to go… and it won’t be Kemp.

    When the playoff roster is pared down, the speed/PR/PH role will go to either Miles Straw or Kemp. They can’t keep both whilst acquiring another arm. I think Kemp is the better choice based upon experience and overall skill. Oftentimes Straw looks outmatched at the plate as evidenced by his called third strike patterns. It looks like he’s guessing up there, especially with two strikes. But man oh man Straw’s fast. Regardless, I like Kemp overall, and he’s only a smidge behind Straw’s raw speed, and a more experienced base stealer. Kemp’s also pretty darn clutch. Mentally I think Kemp is the more reliable of the two and will be more apt to deliver when a PH or steal is crucial come playoff time.

    So here’s my take: as long as Springer, Brantley, Alvarez and Marisnick remain healthy, I THINK REDDICK SHOULD BE TRADE BAIT. The beloved lefty will have no better “sell high” value than the present.

    I like Reddick, he’s a fan favorite (the annoying Ric Flair “woooos” notwithstanding), and he’s valuable trade bait. BUT WE NEED ANOTHER QUALITY ARM, not OF depth.

    The need for another TOR starter is more than just for this year’s playoff run. Cole will be too expensive to retain and he’s 100% he’s a goner.

    I’d dangle Reddick, Corbin, Fisher, Corbin Martin and even Kyle Tucker to get a TOR SP for the playoff run and into 2020. The only untouchable would be Forrest Whitley.

    Personally I like Marcus Stroman. What a perfect last name! I think we should pay handsomely for his services AND keep him from becoming a Yankee. Fortunately for Luhnow, he has plenty of bargaining chips, including Josh Reddick.

    Liked by 1 person

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