Chicago Cubs will face stiff competition if they pursue Carlos Correa

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

It’s October – and that means Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros are making noise in the postseason. Despite the widespread hatred surrounding the player and the team, neither seem too concerned and with five consecutive ALCS appearances, why should they be?

This appears to be the swan song for the marriage, though, with Correa telling The Athletic (subscription required) earlier this season that this is his last season in Houston. That means the two-time All-Star and former AL Rookie of the Year will headline this winter’s loaded free agent class – which no doubt has the Chicago Cubs and Jed Hoyer taking a long hard look.

Recently, Correa threw some fuel on the speculative fires when he talked about Chicago, the fans and Wrigley Field.

"“Obviously, I’m focused on winning a championship with the Astros,” Correa said. “But I’ve heard a lot of players talk about how great it is to play at Wrigley Field. And I’ve never gotten to play there at the major-league level yet. Actually, a lot of players say it’s the best stadium to play at.”"

The former first-rounder stayed healthy this season – and continued to produce – all but guaranteeing he gets a deal north of $300 million this winter. Whether or not that will come from the Cubs remains to be seen.

There will be no shortage of potential suitors for Correa: the Cubs could be joined by the likes of the Yankees, Rangers, Mariners, Phillies, Angels and Cardinals, according to The AthleticA lot of those teams are closer to contending than Chicago – which means Hoyer will have his work cut out for him in convincing Correa to join a rebuilding organization, regardless of how badly he wants to play in front of the fans at Wrigley Field.

Chicago Cubs: Is Carlos Correa the next franchise icon on the North Side?

Like I said, Correa comes with baggage. He’s become the face of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that culminated in a World Series championship just one year after the Cubs erased a 108-year title drought. But he’s also one of the most talented players in the game and at just 27 years old, is just entering his prime.

In his career, Correa has hit .277/.356/.481. This season, he avoided the IL and turned in one of his best seasons to-date, smacking a career-high 26 home runs and driving in 92 runs. In October, he’s done what he always does and that’s show up, batting .429/.520/.667 entering action on Monday.

Next. Top 3 free agents who love hitting at Wrigley Field. dark

After the midseason fire sale, this Cubs team lacks a true leader – and has next to no star power left. Correa could be that guy, the center piece heading into a new era on the North Side. But he won’t come cheap – and it’ll take one heckuva pitch from Hoyer and his new GM to close the deal.