We casually refer to Carlos Correa as a member of the upcoming free agent class when discussing the big shortstops hitting the market, but that isn’t, strictly speaking, accurate just yet. Correa signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins this past offseason, but it comes with an opt-out after the first year – so until he actually opts out, he’s not a free agent. (Ditto Xander Bogaerts, for the record.)
But he’s totally going to opt out. The whole point of the contract was to provide him a little downside security in case of catastrophic injury, while allowing him to re-enter the market this offseason.
So, not that you weren’t already assuming it, Jon Heyman reports that, yes, absent an injury, Correa is likely to opt out of his deal. In other words, we can continue to casually refer to Correa as part of the upcoming free agent class, without constantly having to hedge with the “if he opts out.” Absent some massive, horrible, trajectory-altering event, he’s gonna be a free agent.
Correa had a rough start to his time in Minnesota, but has bounced back plenty. He’s currently hitting .264/.340/.427/120 wRC+, and while the glove this year is rating closer to average, you rarely want to read TOO much into partial-season defensive metrics for guys who’ve got a long, well-established track record. Still, the numbers being a touch down – if you still believe in the player – could actually wind up softening Correa’s market further this offseason.
Because of his age (28 next season), the past interest (the Cubs didn’t come close to landing him last year, but the interest was not manufactured), and the lack of a qualifying offer (Correa cannot get another one, which means he won’t be tied to draft pick compensation), I fully expect Correa to be among the Cubs’ free agent targets this offseason. It’s possible, in fact, that he will be right at the top of the list, with the Cubs wanting to add his bat and superlative infield glove (which you can coordinate with Nico Hoerner however maximizes the overall defense).
A stray note to close with? Carlos Correa is a month younger than Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki.