Chicago Cubs: Carlos Correa must be atop the team’s wish list

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

If the Chicago Cubs are actually re-tooling and not rebuilding, they’ll have a chance to prove it this winter in an absolutely loaded free agent class. One guy who could be a building block for years to come is current Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who has been extremely consistent throughout his seven-year tenure with Houston and is batting .271/.366/.476 this season.

Correa, of course, has been part of a historic run with Houston in his own right, helping the club secure three American League West division titles, three straight ALCS appearances, two World Series appearances and one World Series title back in 2017. Houston also currently sits in first place in the AL West in 2021 with a record of 69-46, the second-highest winning percentage in the American League. 

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The 2015 AL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star has a career batting line of .271/.366/.476 with his most impressive season coming in 2017 where he batted .315 with 24 homers and 84 runs batted in. Correa hasn’t really been known as a power guy – in 2021 he’s hit 18 home runs midway through August accompanied by 61 driven in. Right on pace for his career-high of 24 in 2017 when he received his first All-Star nod.

For a team that has recently completely dismantled and dumped it’s entire core, Correa would immediately enter the fold as a proven player on a team that lacks just that –  proven commodities. His postseason experience would be most welcome on a Chicago Cubs team that has shed virtually all its players with October experience in recent weeks.

In terms of value for this team, he currently has a career WAR of 31.9 over the span of seven seasons. Presently, he sits at 5.0 WAR on the year through mid-August, putting him on pace to see around slightly above 33 on his career when the season comes to a close. Considering he is only 26 and assuming he plays at least another eight to 10 years, he is more than on pace to land inside the top 100 players of all-time in terms of WAR. Number 100 overall is Richie Ashburn, who accumulated 64.3 WAR in his career.

Chicago Cubs: Changes to the game make Carlos Correa a perfect fit

Correa would only make sense for the Cubs once the offseason rolls around when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between MLB and the MLB Players Association. Currently, the common belief is that we will see the universal DH in the NL as soon as next season.

If, for some reason, however, the new CBA doesn’t include a DH in the Senior Circuit, the likelihood of Chicago pursuing a free agent shortstop is diminished. The team boasts Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner up the middle, although you could, at least in theory, move Hoerner to center if you felt like a Correa was that good of a fit. Correa could also slide over to the hot corner to make it work.

However, with a DH, it opens up multiple avenues for the Cubs to acquire pretty much whoever they want this winter with the funds that have become available, should they choose to do so.

Assuming the designated hitter is in play next season, Correa, a solid defensive shortstop in his own right, offers a nice depth piece so Hoerner and Madrigal don’t have to play in the field everyday. Correa has pretty much been consistent his entire seven-year big league career and that is something the Cubs front office needs to look at specifically.

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They can’t keep rolling the dice with new up-and-comers hoping somebody will break out. At some point, Tom Ricketts will have to open the checkbook and sign a couple top free agents if the Cubs want to right the ship as soon as possible.