Cubs will have to do better than a $27.5 million AAV for Carlos Correa

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Right before the MLB lockout quashed the insane momentum and excitement of free agency, there were multiple reports tying the Cubs to free agent shortstop Carlos Correa.

That came as a bit of a surprise, not because of a lack of fit, but rather the fact that Correa seems likely to be the costliest player available in free agency this winter and, well, the Ricketts haven’t exactly inspired a lot of confidence with their offseason spending in recent years.

The Cubs certainly aren’t alone in their interest, with Atlanta and Boston also staying in touch with the former Rookie of the Year’s camp, as well. But the team long viewed as the favorite to sign him, the Detroit Tigers, reportedly made an offer of 10 years and $275 million earlier this offseason.

Of course, for Cubs fans, Detroit has been a recent topic of conversation after the Tigers signed Javier Baez to a six-year, $140 million deal. It seems pretty likely that offer to Correa probably preceded the Baez signing – but as the Rangers already went out and proved by signing both Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, we definitely can’t cross the Motor City off a list of potential landing spots just yet.

So why are we talking about the Tigers making an offer? Because it gives us a measuring stick when thinking about a potential Cubs’ pursuit of this year’s Platinum Glove winner.

Let’s start here. I’m not saying you’ll necessarily have to go longer than 10 years or exceed $275 million to wind up with Correa on your roster come spring. But you can pretty much guarantee you’ll have to do better than a $27.5 million AAV.

I think the Cubs have a way to get Carlos Correa without going 10+ years

Correa is just 27 and is, far and away, the best player left on the free agent market. I still think Scott Boras will have his eyes set on a deal that tops Francisco Lindor’s extension with the New York Mets (10 years, $341 million) – but with the Dodgers quiet so far and the Yankees not inclined to play at the top level of the market this winter, it’s getting harder and harder to see where such a deal could come from.

If we’re being honest, in terms of payroll, the Cubs are at or near the top of the list of teams capable of offering such a deal. But Jed Hoyer seems pretty unlikely to do so based on virtually every comment and action from him since he took the head baseball ops job on the North Side.

It’s far more likely Chicago comes in with a four-year, $160 million deal with an opt out in there somewhere. Now whether or not Correa and Boras would touch that with a ten-foot pole remains to be seen, but it would set a new high-water mark for AAV by a position player, topping even what Mike Trout got in his record deal with the Angels.

dark. Next. Carlos Rodon makes sense, but I doubt the Cubs pull it off

That’s a nice feather in both their caps, and allows Correa to hit free agency again at 31. The Cubs maintain long-term flexibility, add a star player and difference-maker. That’s a win-win for everyone involved.