It’s been suggested before, speculated plenty, and simply makes logical sense: if Carlos Correa is roundly considered the top overall shortstop on the free agent market, then he was probably always expecting to get the largest contract this offseason.
Now we’ve got a little confirmation on that point, together with perhaps a little more information on why Correa ultimately was not signed before the lockout kicked in:
Carlos Correa’s position before the lockout (or agent switch) was that he wanted $330M to $350M. But $330M was the clear minimum ask. Will still be interesting to see if he can beat Corey Seager’s $325M deal.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2022
Recall, Seager’s deal with the Rangers wasn’t officially official until the day before the lockout, and wasn’t reportedly agreed to until just about 36 hours before that. Also, it was a whole lot more than folks thought he would be getting (arguably because the Rangers had to/wanted to go way over the top to ensure they could get both Seager and Marcus Semien done (I still contend it’s because they plan to sell in the next two years, but whatever)).
The point there is it’s not as if there was a whole lot of time for the market to be set by Seager, and then teams/Correa to adjust their thinking and try to finalize something. We know that the only reported big offer Correa got before the lockout was 10/$275 million from the Tigers, so they were probably the only team even deep enough at that point to TRY to adjust upward to beat Seager’s deal. Having already signed Javy Báez, it’s not a surprise that the Tigers weren’t going to be rushed into $330M+ for Correa at that moment. (The Cubs reportedly had mutual interest with Correa before the lockout, but no one would have expected them to go to that level in November.)
In other words, it makes total sense to me that (1) Correa wanted $330M+ before the lockout, and (2) Correa did not get signed before the lockout.
After the lockout ends, will Correa get $330M+? Will that still be the starting point on his ask? None of us can say for sure, because it’s still a little unclear what teams are going to be playing at that level (I suspect the Cubs, who are legitimately interested, will not). It’s also unclear to what extent the rumors about his back issues are legit, or just teams trying to hold down his ask.
The recent hire of Scott Boras may be about holding firm at that price point, or it could be an acknowledgement that getting a “top” contract may require some creativity so that both the player and the team can feel like they got a win.