Well, we’re less than 24 hours into the second offseason, and we’ve already got an Obsessive Carlos Correa Watch going. What do you want from me? He’s kind of a big deal!
To briefly recap just the post-lockout stuff on Correa … First, David Schoenfield (ESPN) predicted the Cubs as the final landing spot for Correa. Then, Jon Morosi (MLB.com) said that the Cubs are “among the favorites” to sign Correa. After that, Jon Heyman told 670 The Score that Correa may take at least a few days to actually, finally sign his new deal.
And now, I have a trio of new Correa rumors for you to keep in mind, touching on the Cubs, Astros, and Tigers.
Let’s start with the Cubs. On ESPN, Buster Olney added to the chorus of pundits attaching Correa to Chicago, saying “watch the Chicago Cubs for Correa” after much more lightly mentioning the Tigers and Astros as possibilities. It’s not much on its own, but it is another log on the fire. That is to say, the Cubs being in on Correa – and *plausibly* landing him – is clearly a widely-accepted possibility at this point.
Meanwhile, at The Athletic, Jim Bowden counts the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Mariners, and, yes, Cubs among the teams connected to Correa this winter, but that’s not his newsiest bit. Instead, it was his Tigers rumor that caught my eye:
The Tigers’ baseball people would love to circle back and acquire Correa to play alongside Báez, but owner Chris Ilitch doesn’t want another contract of that magnitude on the books, according to a source.
If you recall, the Tigers reportedly made Correa a very strong pre-lockout offer: ten-years, $275 million, complete with three opt-outs and an extra $10M each time he finished in the top five in MVP voting … which Correa rejected. So the Tigers pivoted to Javy Báez, who signed in November and theoretically shut the door on Correa.
But for a while now, rumors have persisted about the Tigers circling back to Correa, perhaps because, well, it sounds like their front office actually would like another crack at him. But if the owner is not on board, it’s not going to happen. Remember that their owner was one of four who initially voted against the CBA because it was increasing the luxury tax thresholds.
Moreover, although the Rangers did the unthinkable earlier this winter with a combo move (signing infielders Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to monster contracts), that is a rare occurrence.
If the Tigers are really counted out, you can assume the Cubs chances have ticked up ever so slightly by default. HOWEVER, as one door closes, another opens.
A different AL owner, whose team made an offer to Correa this winter, would like one more shot at the star shortstop:
Jim Crane on the Astros priorities heading into spring training: “Depends on what happens with Carlos (Correa). Our center fielder has been injured. Shortstop is an issue and the center fielder. Those are some of our objectives. Maybe add an arm or two to the bullpen.” pic.twitter.com/sNjCEWADdP
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 11, 2022
Unlike the Tigers, the Astros’ offer to Correa wasn’t nearly as strong: five years, $160 million (though it came before he really started talking to others in free agency). So if they actually want to retain their World Series shortstop, then they’ll have to really step up their game (there could be such a thing as a hometown discount, but it won’t be much). Still, the Astros are a legitimate threat to the Cubs’ pursuit and cannot be dismissed out of hand. If the owner wants to take another shot at re-signing one of his best players, that can’t be ignored.
We’ll keep tracking!