What will (And what should) the Astros do about Carlos Correa?

Maybe all that needs to be said about Carlos Correa was said here.

How do you solve a problem like Correa? | CHIPALATTA

Or here…..

The curious case of Carlos Correa | CHIPALATTA

But there are still things to be discussed as the Astros shortstop reaches the Nirvana of free agency at the ripe old age of 27.

Correa is perhaps the most prominent symbol of the Astros’ renaissance from the mid-2010s to today. Yes, Jose Altuve has been with the big club longer, suffering through the worst of the Astros’ self-induced swoon of three 100+ loss seasons in a row. But, Correa was the first piece obtained during those dark times as the number one overall pick in the draft in 2012 MLB draft. He debuted in 2015, which was the big turnaround year for the franchise as they made the playoffs and came within a few outs of making the ALCS.

Perhaps it is also symbolic of Correa that he did not suffer through the bad times like Altuve did. Since he showed up, the team only missed the playoffs in 2016, which was still a winning season. He has had a blessed major league existence as his team has been to six playoffs, three World Series and five ALCS appearances in seven seasons.

The argument can be made that the Astros’ success rate would not have been this great without Correa. It is a chicken or the egg argument that is a rather complex one. He definitely made this team better and had some big-time clutch moments in the playoffs….when healthy. And there is the rub, and there is the critical tipping point of whether Carlos Correa will fulfill the expectations of his next decade long multi-gazillion dollar contract. Is he the guy who played in 58 of 60 games in 2020 and led the team in games played in 2021, or did he miss 53, 52 and 87 games in 2017 through 2019?

MLBTradeRumors.com has Correa as the number one free agent on the market due to his youth (relatively young for a free agent), position and overall skills. They predict he will get a contract for 10 years / $320 MM. The Astros are rumored to have offered him 5 years / $160 MM, ironically the same amount of contract per year at half the years. Correa’s problems and potential health issues are that he probably will put up 5 seasons out of 10 worth that $32 MM per season. But there is a good chance that he will have 5 other seasons that are probably worth about $10 MM per season through injury and advancing age. How do you cover for a guy you give that much money to, who could (based on 2017-2019) miss 30-50% of three consecutive seasons?

No matter how you look at it, there is no argument that Carlos Correa is the best Astros shortstop of all time. No one has combined his type of defense and offense in one package as he is the career leader for Astro shortstops in runs scored, home runs, RBIs, OBP, OPS and WAR. Before his appearance with the team, the best shortstop offensive performances were by short term veterans like Denis Menke and Miguel Tejada. He has combined with Jose Altuve to be a terrific DP duo in the field, and you have to look at someone like the late Ken Caminiti to find an Astro with the kind of cannon that he possesses in that right arm.

But we have likely seen the last of Carlos Correa in an Astros’ uniform. They could afford to pay him what he wants in the short term, but there is a special thing with this team: sustainability. They have survived and thrived despite losing George Springer, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton, and all the other folks they have let go elsewhere because they could find a more sustainable way to replace them. They are not the Florida Marlins who come up for air once a decade and then sink into the depths of the morass. They have been an excellent team since 2015 because they make tough decisions that are better in the long run. They are no longer cheap as they could be accused of back before the revival. They are consistently one of the highest spending teams in the majors year to year. But they have not tied themselves to long term contracts, and it is hard to see them going more than 6 years on Correa, and that will not get this done.

Carlos has been a positive, and whoever is playing shortstop for the Astros is not likely to match his production. But it won’t be him out there, and that is a little hard to picture right now.

55 comments on “What will (And what should) the Astros do about Carlos Correa?

  1. I remember being crestfallen – and downright angry – when a young superstar named Carlos Beltran spurned the Astros long term offer and signed with the Mets instead. Since then, every time we face a free agent negotiation I just assume the worst – and keep Bob Seger’s version of ‘C’est La Vie Say the Old Folks’ cued up and ready to go just in case.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t deny Correa is the best shortstop I’ve ever watched. But I’ve seen too many teams tie up money in one player and that player seems to lose their enthusiasm when they get the big bucks.
    Carlos has already had his problems with the IL. So I say wish him well and let him go.
    Mr. Bill, I too remember the Beltran non-deal. I never get my hopes up for any upcoming free agent to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t believe the Astros offered Correa 5/32. That is a ton of money for them. That’s the biggest Astros contract ever. It is really fair.
    But Correa wants twice that money, and he knows the Astros won’t do it because the Astros plan is to compete every year by not making big mistakes.
    That plan has shown it works, as the Astros have consistently contended.
    Stick to the plan. Stay good, keep your young studs and then play them. Fill in as needed at the deadline. Try to keep your core with good extensions that pay them well but don’t violate the plan that got you here.
    Players are going to figure out that the playing in Houston means playoffs and playoff money almost every single season.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’re working in a system that has certain constraints. I mean, the Astros could do with the Braves did and try to pay Correa under the table, but those sorts of things eventually get discovered. They could try to go the Dodgers route where you throw money and draft picks down the toilet, but I don’t think our ability to attract free agents or profits are large enough to do so. The fans and hometown press won’t like it, but the offer they made Correa is pretty generous. He’ll reject it unless the other teams really don’t have interest. That’s OK. These big contracts haven’t worked out yet. Eventually, someone will hit the jackpot and deliver on the field throughout the length of one without preventing their team from making the moves necessary to actually win it all…but I’m willing to gamble this is not going to be the one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Several sources stated the Astros came back with 6/210. That tells me the Astros really want him. And maybe that means there is no ideal back up plan. Maybe they are not as high on Pena as some of us are. So if they really want Carlos, then offer 7 /250. If he says no, then it’s clear he’s got a different future in mind.

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  6. If I were the Astros I would be after Carlos Rodon, Jonathan Gray or Kevin Gausman for a multiple year deal.
    If you are going to spend money, spend it on a TOR pitcher who isn’t too old and doesn’t carry the weight of a QO.
    Even with Correa in the lineup, they didn’t have enough pitching to win it all.
    Let’s say it another way: Adding $320 million dollars for a shortstop who couldn’t hit the Braves (or the Nats in 2019 for that matter) isn’t going to win you a WS. You’re going to end up with the same lineup and won’t have the pitching and have a lot less money.
    Get better where you need it and stay away from guys who are trying to drain your team’s future to fatten their own wallet,

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed OP – I’m throwing 4 or 5 years at Rodon. I remember how many of us were unhappy when we drafted Aiken over Rodon. Hard throwing lefty’s tend to be a durability challenge. IF (big if) I can get that contract insured I think its a no brainer.

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  7. I agree 1OP. Spend on pitching and get a cheaper SS. I think most teams are waiting to see what the new CBA luxury tax limit will be before signing any big name FAs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fair enough 1OP, so we focus on pitching. I think that’s the antidote to losing Correa. Pitching, pitching, pitching. But I think I’d rather have Verlander for a couple of years than any of those three guys. And a very deep pen, one prepared to lose Pressly in 2023. I’m confident Click will build an impressive staff with the money he’s been allocated. If Crane is prepared to spend 210 a year, then we can pay for quite a bit more on the mound.

    The best way to replace Correa is to build a better team. A team.

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    • If Pressly is as good in 2022 as he was in 2021, it would behoove them to give him a one year extension for 2023. After that, he would probably ride off into the sunset with mules loaded down with cash.

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  9. I think each of us at some point in our lives went to an auction. Sane people realize that at some point, it becomes too expensive. Looking at the posts above, if I could be considered “sane” (I know, lots of doubt) Correa is too expensive for any deal going past 5 years.

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    • If every team owner was handing out huge contracts to everyone, why are so many excellent players NOT opting out of their existing contracts? I take that to mean that per the player, the owner is already overpaying for their services.

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      • Some random Opt Outs from MLB Trade Rumors.
        Nolan Arenado has $179 left on his contract. He ranked the 64th best player in MLB using WAR of 4.1. J D Martinez has only one year left at $19.35 million. He ranks at #137 at 3.0 WAR. Trevor Bauer has $62 Million left and hasn’t pitched since July. (He may be signed with MMA vs. a Female, but that may only be a rumor). The Yankees paid Brett Gardner $1.15 Million to go away. His WAR 1.0.

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  10. 1o years!? Dude must be crazy as he has about 4-5 years of elite production. (If he doesn’t get hurt) Let the Mets or some other dumb ass team take him off your hands. No doubt they’ll regret the contract and be stuck with limited options. (Didn’t anyone learn anything from the Pujols signing?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it’s the years much more than money per year…Gary
      I have enjoyed a lot of what Correa has brought to the team but we could use that money on two or three pieces to improve this team in other ways

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Here’s a list of the 50 largest MLB contracts. All 50 contracts were from 2001 until now:

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/leaders_contract.shtml

    How many guys on this list won a World Series while playing under their big contract with the team that signed that contract? I have Freeman in 2021, Scherzer in 2019, Price in 2018, Heyward in 2016, Posey in 2014, A Rod in 2009 and Ramirez in 2007 & 2004.

    So in the past 21 years, 13 teams won the World Series without a player on a big contract. Seems to me a good reason to avoid such a contract.

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  12. I still firmly believe Correa is the best defensive shortstop in the game. I don’t care about advanced defensive metrics. Some show one thing, others show something else. And at 33 or 35, he might make a heck of a 3B or 1B. But he’s not a great hitter. And he has not shown that he can stay on the field two years in a row. And I still don’t believe in his authenticity. He has done a great job in selling himself over the past year though. He’s a sharp kid. I’d give him the 7 year deal I suggested yesterday and I might regret it. But our club is not going to give 10. Yes Gary T., someone else will give him 10, heck maybe even 12!

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  13. If Jake Meyer’s surgery will keep him from being ready by the beginning of the 2022 season, why didn’t they do the surgery a month ago, so that he would have been ready?

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    • Well they did have him on the ALCS roster, so they couldn’t do it then. Beyond that maybe he had to wait for certain swelling to go down or maybe he went out for multiple opinions from surgeons. I know that it can be a tricky surgical situation there because of something my wife went through.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m glad they still look at Javier as a starter.
    Sounds like Verlander is on their list. Would they go 2 /33 all over again?
    Bummer on Meyers. Alvarez, Brantley, Tucker, Siri, McCormick? I think we need another guy that can play left. I expect Brantley to miss more games this year.

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    • Unless there are major roster changes in the new CBA, it is difficult for a team to carry more than 4 outfielders + the DH. So someone would need to go if another name is added in the outfield. I don’t expect Diaz nor Margo to be in the outfield this year. Obviously three on the above list still have options to go back to AAA a few times this year. And I don’t think any will be counted to be the backup 1st Baseman.

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    • A defensive outfield of Chaz, Siri, and Tucker would be pretty formidable. Baker could utilize that group to rest Brantley frequently. Once Meyers is healthy you would be forced to make a decision on who goes to the Skeeters though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Between Meyers, McCormick and especially Siri, we’re seen a pretty small sample of work at the big league level, especially with Siri. It’s a big leap of faith to assume these new guys are going to produce offensively.

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    • Javier has some of the craziest splits in baseball when it comes to BA against the first time, second and third times through a lineup. Maybe he needs to learn to vary his pitches better – maybe simply throwing more strikes and less 3 ball counts lets an opposing hitter see less of your stuff for later at bats – but RIGHT NOW he is a darn good 5-6-7 inning option because he is purely dominant against hitters the first time through. He could even be a closer in waiting. Not giving up on him as a starter – and I don’t think the Astros should either because it can click at any moment – but he needs to spend more time in the strike zone, he needs probably a third pitch that can get guys out and probably improve his second pitch as well. Right now it just seems like a guy that bumps up on 100 pitches sometime in the 5th inning start after start.

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      • I’m high on Javier. He’s got 150 ML innings under his belt and a few mostly quality post season innings. At 24, he’s got a lot to learn, especially when he gets ahead of someone and grooves an 0-2 count. But in his nine starts this year, he went 3.2 in his first and 4.2 in his last. The other seven were 5,5,7,5,5.1,7,6. That’s pretty good. And then he took on another job when Framber got back. I think he preferred the starting role, but unlike Jake Odorizzi, never a complaint. Christian really helped our club in 2021.

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  15. https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/HOU/2021.shtml

    It sounds like I want the Astros to lose Correa and stand pat with the rest. That is not necessarily my position, but we have 3 young outfielders that made Straw expendable. It you look at the stats, we have 5 starters plus Odorizzi. In looking at the stats, look at Walks, HBP, wild pitches, and you can see who needs to improve. McCullers, Javier, and Framber have to throw more strikes or we need someone to come in about the 4th inning for most of their games. This group got us to the World Series. Nope, didn’t get us over the top. But there is no need to rebuild this team. After next year, it may be a different tune.

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    • I don’t think we’re good enough to stand pat. Likely we’ll be losing a very good hitting shortstop, Where do we make up his offense? Yuli won’t win the batting title again. Will Brantley give us 2021 first half offense or second half offense? A couple of guys are bound to have better years with the bat, but we can’t know now.

      We need deeper starting pitching. We want to be in the World Series again. We need a stronger, deeper pen.

      We’ve got to be ready for the inevitable injuries that will take place.

      So I think we’ve got some offense to replace and some pitching to add.

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  16. Would y’all consider trading Brantley? I like him, but I have the feeling that more injuries are coming.
    You could
    – Trade him for prospect pitchers and sign a cheaper corner outfield option
    – Trade him for bullpen help and a prospect and sign a cheaper corner outfield option
    – Trade him for a younger outfielder and a prospect

    Just thinking aloud here

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think they should trade Brantley. He’s the guy who had a chance to leave and he said he wanted to come back because the team had unfinished business. I truly believe he would have a chance to be a quiet leader of the team if the noisy leader moved on to greener pastures.
      I honestly think that Pedro Leon will be the third starting outfielder when Brantley’s contract run’s out. I hope he would be ready.
      Tucker is a star. Meyers and Chas fight it out for their place and Leon joins them when he is ready. I hope Yordan Alvarez is our DH for as long as he can be a star. At least 10 years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have no issue if they trade Brantley UNLESS it is one of those deals where you pay the other team $10 Million of his salary. Brantley played in only 121 games. The fewest of the regulars. In the WS, he hit .333. In the second half of the season, he hit .289. Both of those are better than the guy looking for $300+ Million.

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    • On the surface that sounds like a viable option. However, i think that would be kind of dirty after what the guy has done for us. Yes, we could use the 16MM elsewhere but Brantley is not an old dish rag that you throw away just because you might find a newer one in the drawer. I think there are intangibles that he brings to the game beyond his batting expertise. And it’s only for one more year. After that I’d suspect he’ll retire if he wants to or go elsewhere to play some more.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Brantley’s best days are behind him. His second half OPS was .728. He hit a very soft .300 on the season. But no, we can’t trade him with Meyers out at the beginning of the season. Hopefully the young guys take over and make sure Brantley is allowed to stay fresh and healthy. One other thing, Brantley is about the most decent guy around, a guy that could have gotten a few more bucks playing elsewhere. I don’t like the idea of unloading loyalty.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. No….I wouldn’t tade Brantley, his voice is too important in the clubhouse and for a few exceptions this year the guy got a hit! Only thing I have (had) a problem with was the playing favorites Dusty does with Brantley. When he’s gone after next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hang it up. He’s made a ton of money and a pretty young family, it might be time to start coaching his young son.
    Cashman did admit yesterday that he had spoken with Correa’s agents, but that’s about it. He walked around the fan reception Correa would get by the Yankee fans, but nothing else new.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The Silver Slugger awards were announced last night which are given to the top offensive players at each position in each league.
    No Astros won the award, but a former Astro who is a Blue Jay. No, his first name is not George.
    It was Teoscar Hernandez, who had a monster season – .296 BA / 92 runs scored/ 32 HRs/ 116 RBIs.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Another reason that I was not in favor of another year for Dusty. Who knows what the thinking was in giving him another year. Maybe giving him one more shot at a WS for having to be there after the “IT” controversy.
        Obviously when a player is blocked like Hernandez was the team has no choice but to trade him, no matter what his upside. Imagine a hot shot player tearing up the minors but he is being blocked by Altuve, Bregman, Correra, or another player who we are paying big bucks to. It’s rare when a team sits a guy whose making 20MM or better in favor of the new, up and coming player. Congratulations to Hernandez anyway. He earned it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • My knee jerk reaction is that Tucker should have won instead of Aaron Judge, but he did get off to a slow start making his numbers less impressive. It’s hard to complain about most of the winners. I don’t think the extra rest kept anyone else on the club from reaching the lofty numbers most of them put up.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Here is the list from Jonothan Mayo that shows Astros that are in Top 30 list and are Rule 5 eligible.

    Houston Astros
    Jeremy Pena, SS (No. 4)
    Joe Perez, 3B (No. 9)
    Shawn Dubin, RHP (No. 11)
    Yainer Diaz, C (No. 13)
    Alex McKenna, OF (No. 17)
    Scott Manea, C (No. 18)
    Jose Alberto Rivera, RHP (No. 28)
    Jojanse Torres, RHP (No. 29)

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    • I have these 3 on my list as most likely to be protected:
      Shawn Dubin
      Jeremy Pena
      Jonathan Bermudez
      I have these two on my list as decent chances:
      JP France
      Yainer Diaz
      I have this one on my list as a dark horse because he is a 3rd baseman:
      Joe Perez.

      Like

    • I didn’t see enough of Pena to comment. Perez is only 21 but made 17 errors (3B) at Corpus this year. Perez did hit .291 for 3 teams this season. Dubin is 26. Was OK at Low A ball, but had 3.7 walks per nine. (That is Brandon Bielak in the majors) . Diaz was already discussed. Doubt McKenna would be a loss at Age 25. Scott Manea might be a replacement for Garrett Stubbs. With Castro and Maldonado both under contract, Manea or Stubbs might being a little in a trade. Rivera/Torres – The last two were injured and showed nothing last year. Both are 25 or older next year.

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      • Perez never played full season baseball until this year. Only had 54 games at rookie league baseball. So 17 errors in his first full season at 3B is not terrible. The Astros really have nobody to play 3B in their system. They might want to see this guy play 3B at AAA without someone stealing him for $100,000.
        That is why I have him on my list as a dark horse they might want to protect.
        They signed him for $1.6 million. They might want to not lose that investment after he hit so well in his first full year of professional ball.

        Like

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