Astros’ options for Carlos Correa

Astro fandom was nudged on Tuesday with news from Ken Rosenthal that the Astros were potentially looking into trading Carlos Correa, since they did not think they could re-sign him. This, later on, morphed into a bit of a non-story from Rosenthal that the Astros were not in active conversations on trading Correa.

But it brings up the question about what is going to happen with Correa. The situation is, as most of us know, that Correa is entering his last season of being arbitration-eligible and will be a free agent after the 2021 season if something does not happen before then. Correa, even with his injury problems is the best all-around shortstop in the history of the team. His defense has brought him to the cusp of the Gold Glove (which he might have reeled in for 2020 except for the sign-stealing scandal) and he has a better bat with power than any other Astro SS.

So what could happen going forward? Here are some options:

Let It Ride – The Astros could decide to go through arbitration with Correa heading into 2021, which will result in a fairly low salary in the $8 – 10 MM range. They could let him play out 2021 when he should be playing very well as he heads into free agency and wave bye-bye heading into 2022 or…..jump into the free agency competition for Correa after Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander come off the books.

Intervention – They try to work out an extension with Correa. They tell him they know he is worth more than he can get in arbitration and they are willing to give him – say – $15 MM in 2021 and then a bit more for the following 4 to 6 years ($20+MM?). Being one season away from free agency he may decide to bet on himself. However, perhaps by the end of the offseason and see where the free agent market has gone, he might want the sure thing in the hand.

Trade-Off – Like Rosenthal hinted at, the Astros could decide to trade Correa this off-season and get back some needs. They need OFs, backup C, another starting pitcher (can’t have too many), veteran relief pitchers, a shortstop to fill in behind Correa and/or prospects. How much would a guy who can play at an elite level at a high skill position, but who also has injury problems be worth with one season left before free agency? Do they deal based on his so-so offensive 2020 regular season or his inspiring 2020 playoff run?

Other Thoughts – They may be thinking hard about the replacement for Correa. One choice would be to move Alex Bregman to shortstop, his natural position and fill in behind him at 3B, which theoretically is an easier task. In-house they have let Jack Mayfield (who has played some SS) go. SS Freudis Nova is so well thought of that they moved him onto the 40 man roster. But he is not quite 21 years old and has not played above Class A. He also was not put on the Astros 60 man roster for 2020 including the U of H and Corpus camps. Maybe they could fill in behind Bregman with Abraham Toro, who has not hit well in a couple shots with the big club. Maybe they could move Gurriel back to 3B and bring in Taylor Jones for 1B. Maybe they could sign a 3B as a free agent or trade for one. Maybe they could give Aledmys Diaz more reps.

Any way you look at it, if Correa leaves, they will undoubtedly be weaker on the infield. This comes down to whether they feel the need to get as much as they can for Correa now or get as much as they can out of Correa in 2020.

If you were GM James Click what would you do?

21 comments on “Astros’ options for Carlos Correa

  1. If I were Click, I would ask Jim Crane, “How much can I spend on Carlos?” If the ceiling is clear, then I would approach Carlos, with Crane, and say let’s do this.

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  2. The window is closing. If Crane/Click don’t believe the Astros can make the postseason this year then they should try to trade Correa for maximum possible returns next month. If they believe they can/will make it, they should consider that he has been one of the best playoff performers in franchise history. Do you want to win another World Series or would you rather be the Oakland A’s / Minnesota Twins?

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  3. I think Carlos is looking ahead to the bright lights of the big city. We might get a heck of a 10 million dollar season out of him in 2021 as he positions himself for a big contract. Keep the best MLB infield intact for now unless we get a really good offer.

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  4. I guess that’s the $64 Million dollar question. I wouldn’t mind signing CC to a long term contract. Maybe 6 years. I don’t think he’s worth $20MM a year but 16-18 sounds pretty good. Of course he’s still playing for the Astros (sigh) and not a marque club like the Yankees, Dodgers,(dbl spit) or some other club. I just think that most teams will try to keep their payrolls a little more under control in lieu of all the stuff going on. Not until Covid is conquered and the fans are allowed to fill up the stands again, will you see large amounts of dollars being thrown around to sign free agents. The risk for another shortened season is still out there. There are no guarantees. Anyway we have JV and ZG’s salaries coming off the books next year so we have a little more leverage. Of course it depends too if CC wants to stay in Houston. It appears that Springer does not so it may be a moot point.

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  5. I followed Correa in the minors more than any other player. When he got promoted to the majors, I finally got to see him play. It was awesome.
    Then he signed that huge sponsor deal and said then that the money would tide him over until free agency. I was dumfounded and disappointed then, but it taught me a big lesson about getting attached to players on my team.
    The circumstances of injuries and then Covid have kept Correa’s salaries down compared to a lot of players. His final year before free agency could be the best value the Astros ever receive for his play.
    Let it ride! Maybe we get 5 WAR from him in this, his walk year. Then he can go get rich in the marketplace and we can find a new SS to play for our team. Our team.

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  6. The 2015 team came within a play or two of going to the WS. Off that team is only Carlos, Jose, and LMJ. Under the CBO, most choices are decided by the player after arbitration. The Astros have the best SS in baseball (arguably) on the team. You can’t get better by trading away your best players for average players. He stays this year and he decides what happens in 2021.

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  7. This has been one of the toughest years that most of us have seen. But even among all the disheartening news this year, we all still can be thankful for things in our lives, especially the people.
    Have a great Thanksgiving my Chip friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks to Ocampo and Luhnow, we are stocked full of pitchers! And to Charlie Rodriguez for bearing down on already-drafted Yordan Alvarez for Josh Fields, that takes a lot of baseball sins away. To Brent Strom for his tireless efforts.

    I say we trade Correa on (de)merit alone. He’s declining pretty badly 45 percentile exit velo, and the rest of this picture doesn’t really scream $12,000,000 and lost prospects for the ~3.4-4.2 WAR he will put up in 2021. I don’t think he will have more than 400 ab’s & that’s why I project him lower.

    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/carlos-correa-621043?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb

    He’s nowhere on OAA defensive leaders. Career 8 dWAR vs 21.6 oWAR.

    https://www.mlb.com/news/2020-statcast-mlb-infield-defense-leaders

    Key in any question like this is the LAST year you’re contracting. He will want and GET a 5, or 6 yr deal. The absolute best fit for HOU is 3 yrs max.

    Ok, so let’s try to pay him big money now for a 1-year extension, or even 2. And there’s no way in the world he’d do that. Therein lies the rub. He’ll be playing for Beltran in 2022, betcha. LET US MOVE ON, SHALL WE?

    Let’s do this: trade JV and Correa to Tigers. Figure out what we can do with that. Somebody on the worst “Fansided” suggested a silly trade DET gives Goodrum Paredes and Faedo for ASTROS Correa. That wouldn’t do it for me.

    They do have great prospects though, and I think we should look at getting Verlander moved where he wants to be, in order to relieve roster space already taking up w/ Pruitt and James healing!

    Can we just ride it out with Correa and Altuve? Yes, could be a decent run with some additions.

    Does Crane want to re-brand? He should. With cheap labor this year, seems like we can find hidden value for the money. We took cash for Bailey, that is telling.

    Baseball is going to be a shell of itself another year if this dark winter motif continues to grip us as a whole. Baseball survived the Depression, though and world wars. On the field, it’s been war since 2015, trading Correa and not making him a favorite son could definitely be a mistake. It’s a risky move from a chemistry standpoint. But our “Identity”, a little piece of that is already gone with Springer’s departure (and uncle Mike, and Devo, and…), and maybe it’s time to face some hard truths. The youth movement is served — perhaps it’s time to get on the wagon of kids who wear the H and never participated in 2017-2018?

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  9. I think Click wants to extend Correa, but I would assume Luhnow already tried in the past and Correa said no because he thinks he will get more as a FA.

    I am sure other teams have always been asking about trading for Correa; he is a good SS and good ones are hard to find.

    I think we would only trade him at the deadline next Summer if we are out of the playoff race, otherwise we extend him a QO and get the draft pick when he leaves.

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  10. I had some help but…I cooked Thanksgiving dinner! My “helpers” did the dishes and took most of the leftovers home! They even put up our Christmas tree and helped put out some of my Nutcrackers…I have over 100 of them but most will stay in the box they live in. We NEED to see beautiful Christmas lights and decorations right now, our country has been living in a nightmare and I for one NEED to see something beautiful to take my mind off of the horrific year I have had and the horrific year our country has been through.
    I hope all of you were able to enjoy your families this Thanksgiving…I certainly did❤. Much love to each one of you, and I hope you did the dishes!

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    • When it comes to this year, all I can hear in my mind is Mac Davis singing “Happiness is Year 2020 in my rear view mirror.” We have so much to be thankful for, yet this year tested our faith in wherever one puts their faith.

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  11. Before I head to my the family Thanksgiving, I just found out that Puig is being sued for sexual assault in LA.
    Forget I said anything about him playing for the Astros, OK?
    I don’t quite remember which plan that eliminates, but I’ll skip to the next one.

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    • Wouldn’t be the 1st time I jumped on your bandwagon and got bucked off the carriage.

      I’m reminded of the time I floated another idea I thought was a great one, playing Yuli everyday at 1B for his offense, instead of rotating to 3B or DH, posting stats that he hit better if he stayed put.

      Somebody responded, “how well does he play on Wednesdays?”

      I still think as creatures of habit, and especially Yuli lost a little (a step, or perspective) of being away from the hot corner after Bregman took over. He became quite a “picker” of bad throws to first base. Cubans in a brave new world like security, and less upheaval. Seems to have held true all this time: Yuli has stayed put, and the 1st to re-sign this year in that present role. Good call!

      Like you said, oftentimes we’re just taking an educated guess. I was thinking Gurriel could help reign Puig in, but it appears his licks are going to be his undoing. I also asked a Red Sox expert about Rusney Castillo as a project, and he said he was nothing more than a 4th OF (which we have plenty of).

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