Obsessive Carlos Correa Watch: Would He Really Take a One-Year Deal? (UPDATE)

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Obsessive Carlos Correa Watch: Would He Really Take a One-Year Deal? (UPDATE)

Chicago Cubs

Ken Rosenthal dropped one heck of a “hypothetical” tonight, when he pondered the possibility of Carlos Correa — the top free agent on the market — signing a one-year deal in free agency this offseason. (Buster Olney pondered something similar, almost at the same time, which immediately makes you wonder where this is coming from.)

You’ll have to read it to believe it, and even Rosenthal suggests disbelief. But he does lay out some circumstances where you might think about plausibility.

According to Rosenthal, the path for Correa to beat Corey Seager’s $325 million deal with the Rangers, let alone Francisco Lindor’s $341M extension with the Mets, simply does not exist this offseason.

You can blame the lockout, you can blame the crowded shortstop market, or you can blame the big markets (Rosenthal explains why there are clear hurdles for the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Dodgers, and Cubs), but that’s just the reality of the situation. And so the thinking is that a one-year deal (at a record-breaking $45 million, no less) could help get Correa paid now *and* next winter, when he’s (1) still going to be the best free agent available, in part because he will (2) still be on the right side of 30, and (3) teams have a better sense of the new CBA and a full regular season of revenue in their pocket.

And the excuse to save face for not beating Seager/Lindor would be “We just didn’t have enough time to get through negotiations.”

To take this a step further, it certainly seems like Rosenthal is suggesting that Houston is the place to do it, which does track with the latest:

As for the Cubs … I’m sorry, but I don’t see it. A one-year, $45M deal for Carlos Correa makes much less sense for the Cubs than for so many other teams. I know we hammered home the idea of short-term, high-AAV contracts all offseason for the Cubs, but this is not the same thing. Absent a remarkably unlikely series of coordinated moves, a one year deal for Correa just does not align with a reasonable expectation for the Cubs (and would NOT be his choice destination on a one-year deal).

Like Rosenthal, I still believe a longer-term deal for Correa, attached to a large sum, is the most likely outcome. I don’t know who’s going to give it to him, but 27-year-old, free agent shortstops coming off MVP-caliber seasons don’t usually take pillow contracts, no matter how big. There’s just so much unnecessary risk.

Oh, also, they don’t have to just take a one-year deal to get the same comfort. Maybe you couldn’t get a record-breaking amount, but plenty of teams would be willing to hand Correa a deal with an opt-out after one year. In other words, if he can get a one-year, $45 million deal, he’d be smarter to take, for an example, a five-year, $150M deal that comes with an opt out after the first year (where the first year pays $40M). The alternative just doesn’t make sense. But, well, it’s out there.

I really don’t see this one. But, since both Rosenthal and Olney mentioned it at the same time – perhaps an agent really wanted to get the info out there to try to loop in some more teams? – we had to mention it.

UPDATE: Well, once source is suggesting intensifying talks with the Astros.

(The is one other factor that bears mentioning, but it feels far less important to me, so it’s going to be a footnote: Technically, Correa’s new agent Scott Boras won’t receive a typical/full commission on his next free agent deal, because negotiations began under Correa’s former representation. But if Correa signed a one-year deal, Boras could make his full bag on Correa’s contract next offseason. Again, it’s not nothing – I’ve seen it mentioned a few places – but Boras would be a pretty bad advisor if he was looking out for himself more than his client. I just don’t think that move is worth the optics.)



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami