Odds are in about three weeks’ time, a work stoppage will bring what’s typically a very busy time in the MLB offseason to a halt as the league and the MLBPA work to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.
The commonly-held belief is that there might be a handful of moves prior to the end of November, but that most of the big-name moves will come once the new CBA is in place. But apparently that’s not stopping the Houston Astros from trying to lock up Carlos Correa on a long-term deal.
Widely viewed as the top member of this year’s free agent class, the All-Star shortstop is coming off a big year, in which he led the Astros to their third World Series appearance in five seasons by batting .279/.366/.485 and appearing in 148 games – his most in a single season since 2016.
According to Mark Berman of FOX 26, Houston is offering up an extension that would give Correa the tenth-largest deal in baseball history, based on AAV – at five years and $160 million.
Now, for the Chicago Cubs, this is certainly a noteworthy development given their tremendous financial flexibility and dire needs of a cornerstone player to build around moving forward. His relative age (he’ll play all but the last week of the 2022 season at just 27 years old) make him an ideal fit not only in Chicago but for multiple clubs throughout the league.
There are two ways to look at this offer. One, at just five years, if Correa plays well throughout, he could hit the open market again at age 32 – potentially giving him a chance to cash in a second time before heading into the twilight of his career.
But the other line of thinking – and the one I tend to think he’ll follow – is that he could very well land a deal of 10 or more years right now. Given his durability issues (again, this year marked just the second time in his career he played in more than 110 games in a single season), this is a best-case scenario to land a max-value deal.
Chicago Cubs can certainly top the Astros’ recent offer to Carlos Correa
Now, $32 million annually is nothing to turn one’s nose up at. But there’s a pretty decent chance Correa could fetch an AAV at or near that mark over a 10-year deal this winter. You’ve got all sorts of potential fits out there including the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Yankees – among others.
If nothing else, the Chicago Cubs can use this AAV as a jumping off point in their internal discussions on Correa. Do they view him as someone worth that kind of contract or will it prompt them to start exploring one of the several other options on the free agent shortstop market? Time will tell.