This upcoming MLB offseason, for the second year in a row, the shortstop market should be the most intriguing part of free agency. Prior to the 2022 MLB season, we saw Corey Seager sign a 10-year, $325M deal with the Texas Rangers, Trevor Story signs a six-year, $140M deal with the Red Sox, and Javier Baez signs the same deal with the Tigers.
As always, free agent shortstops come at a premium as there are few elite ones and they serve as anchors for their team. This offseason Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and potentially Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts are all up for new contracts. In a four-part series, we will take a deep dive into their potential markets and how much they’re worth. Today, we look at the potential Carlos Correa contract.
You can find the analysis on the other free agent shortstops here!
Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner
Correa Through 2022
Carlos Correa was drafted 1st overall by the Houston Astros in the 2012 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2015 and won the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He spent the first seven years of his career with Houston, winning three AL pennants and one World Series ring. In those seven seasons, he slashed .277/.356/.481 with a 128 wRC+ and 26.9 fWAR. His last season with the Astros was perhaps his best. In 2021, he put up a 133 wRC+, .373 xwOBA, 20 DRS, 12 OAA, and 6.2 fWAR, while winning his first Gold Glove Award and finishing 5th in AL MVP voting.
Last offseason, Correa signed a complicated three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins which functions as a one-year deal with two player options. Most analysts and fans expect Correa to opt out of the deal, which will pay him $70.2 million over the next two seasons. He was expected to sign a long-term deal, last offseason, but chose the “prove-it” deal instead.
The problem for Correa is that he hasn’t exactly proven it in 2022. His bat has been great, but he’s taken massive steps back defensively and on the bases. Despite his .271/.352/.439 (129 wRC+) slash line, he’s only accumulated 3.1 fWAR due to his poor defense (-2 OAA) and baserunning (-3.2 BsR). He’s still only 27 years old, though, making him the youngest shortstop on the free agent market this offseason. As a 27-year-old with over 30 career WAR, there will surely be suitors lining up for his services.
Most of the teams interested in Carlos Correa last offseason will likely be interested once again. Even if he opts out, the Minnesota Twins may be interested in working out a new contract. The Chicago Cubs, who reportedly offered Correa a seven-year deal worth north of $30 million a year last offseason, could still be in the market for a top infielder on the market. The Tigers offered Correa a 10-year deal but signed Javier Baez, so they’ll be out of the market.
At the same time, teams like the Braves, Red Sox, and Dodgers could all potentially lose their shortstops this offseason. Correa and the Dodgers were even rumored to be “realistic” partners last offseason. With Trea Turner hitting free agency this offseason, they may be more inclined to sign the younger shortstop in Correa. Also, the Phillies may be in a position to offer one of the top shortstops a long-term deal. They’ve struggled to find any sort of stability at the position since Jimmy Rollins left in 2014.
What Will the Carlos Correa Contract Look Like?
With his relative struggles in 2022, the next Carlos Correa contract may have left a lot of money on the table by signing a short-term deal last offseason. While he was considered the top prize for any team in need of an infielder last year, he has had the worst season out of the four top options on the market this year. For Correa, it will be a matter of how teams value his past performances compared to his slight underperformance in 2022.
According to FanGraphs’ value metric, Correa has been worth $27.9 million this year and $243.4 million throughout his entire eight-year career. ZiPS projects Correa to be worth 5.1, 4.8, and 4.5 fWAR in the next three years. At just 28 years old, he could still be in line to sign a deal for up to nine or ten years. Outside of Aaron Judge and maybe Jacob deGrom, Correa could be in line for the largest contract in free agency this offseason. I’d project the next Carlos Correa contract to be around $240 million over 8 years, with another potential opt-out clause within the next three or four years.
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What are your predictions for the next Carlos Correa contract? Let us know in the comments below!
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