I’m at work this week down in Florida working some spring training camps in the Grapefruit League – so unlike most Chicagoans, I was already awake in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday when the news broke that Carlos Correa – the marquee free agent in this winter’s class – was signing with the Minnesota Twins in a move that shocked the baseball world.
In what essentially amounts to a one-year deal that sets the all-time AAV for a free agent infielder (officially designated as a three-year, $105.3 million pact with opt-outs after each of the first two years), Correa joins a Twins team that, earlier this week, dumped Josh Donaldson’s contract on the Yankees in a move that netted Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez.
But Chicago Cubs faithful did not take the news of Correa’s signing well as they awoke on Saturday. Many called ownership cheap (a statement which, at least based on the sheer total dollar spending we’ve seen this winter isn’t accurate) – with others dropping the hammer on Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins for not getting a deal done.
Here’s the problem, though. If we step back a moment and look at the bigger picture, it’s pretty easy to see why Correa isn’t poised to get introduced in a press conference at Sloan Park this week.
Heading into the offseason, the longtime Astros standout had his eyes set on a deal that exceeded Corey Seager’s 10-year, $325 million sum doled out by the Rangers prior to the lockout. He was so focused on it, he dumped his representation mid-lockout and joined forces with Boras Corporation – who are, of course, known for maximizing deals for free agent clients.
But as the months went on and transactions resumed once the new CBA came to fruition, it became pretty clear: that 10-year deal just wasn’t out there to be had – at least not at the AAV Correa had in mind as a 27-year-old coming off arguably the best season of his big league career.
What amounts to a one-year deal for Carlos Correa did nothing for the Cubs
The Cubs were rumored to be comfortable with making a run at Correa only as long as their offer didn’t exceed seven years. They weren’t willing to go 10 (you can debate whether or not that stance was warranted or not, sure). Considering the roster construction as things currently stand, that short-term deal that, again, is basically a one-year contract if he plays well this year, might’ve made the team better – but could’ve hindered the forward progress the organization is making.
Brett over at Bleacher Nation perfectly summed up why this wasn’t a deal the Cubs were ever going to seriously pursue:
"It’s the thing I’ve been saying about Trevor Story when people ask about him and the Cubs on a one-year deal (I just never thought I’d be saying it about Carlos freaking Correa): you’re giving up a very high second round pick and bonus pool space, and IFA bonus pool space, for one market rate year of a great player."
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Even with Correa in the mix, we’re looking at Cubs team that might be a .500 club. So why pay the price on what amounts to a hilariously lopsided deal in Correa’s favor? The easy answer – and the one the front office aligned on – is simple: don’t.