Carlos Correa is the top free agent in MLB this offseason, hitting the open market in the prime of his career and coming off an outstanding season. With multiple teams looking to spend on young talent, there are plenty of landing spots to keep an eye on.
The appeal with Correa is undeniable. He’ll be entering his age-27 season in 2022 and is arguably one of the best players in MLB. He’s also available at the right time, with several World Series hopefuls and future playoff contenders seeking a star talent to help become a perennial threat for the next six-plus years.
With all of that in mind, let’s examine the best free-agent destinations for Carlos Correa.
Carlos Correa signs with New York Yankees
The New York Yankees tried to make it worth with Gleyber Torres at shortstop. But a franchise with title aspirations and a fan base desperate for a World Series appearance can only wait for so long. Torres might rebound as a hitter in 2022, but he is never going to be trusted defensively at the position. According to FanGraphs, Torres ranks 32nd in UZR/150 (-6.1) and 37th in Defensive Runs Saved (-22) among shortstops with 1,000-plus innings since 2018.
- Carlos Correa fielding stats: .981 fielding percentage (8th), 3.1 Range Runs (1st), 21 Defensive Runs Saved (21)
Let’s compare that to Correa, who just won the 2021 Fielding Bible Award and his first Gold Glove. The Puerto Rican native ranks 2nd in DRS (37) and is 13th in UZR/150 (2.2). While some in New York might prefer Corey Seager, he’s an inferior defender (0 Defensive Runs. Saved, -14.1 UZR/150 this season). If the Yankees are going to pay their next shortstop $30-plus million per year for the next decade, Correa offers more value.
Detroit Tigers reunite A.J. Hinch with All-Star shortstop
The Detroit Tigers are a team on the rise. We saw flashes of this club’s potential this past season, largely thanks to a young rotation filled with promise. For this franchise to take the next step, potentially making that 2021 Seattle Mariners leap, the front office must strengthen a lineup that ranked 22nd in OPS (.707) and 21st in wRC+ (93).
- Carlos Correa contract prediction: 9 years, $292 million
Enter arguably the best shortstop in baseball. Correa finished fourth in wRC+ (134), seventh in isolated power (.205), third in runs scored (104) and posted the highest walk rate (11.7%) at his position. That would be monumental for Detroit, given Tigers’ shortstops posted the fourth-lowest wRC+ (72), the ninth-worst isolated power (.116) and ranked 28th in fWAR (-0.1).
With young arms under team control for the next four seasons and a farm system loaded with young hitters who are MLB-ready (SPencer TOrkelsn, Riley Greene), Detroit has the financial flexibility to spend on a star. Offering a lucrative contract and a reunion with A.J. Hinch, the Tigers are a great fit for Carlos Correa.
Mariners make free-agent splash with Carlos Correa
Speaking of the Mariners’ sudden breakout year, it’s inspired confidence within the front office. Seattle is expected to open up its wallet this offseason, ready to make the kind of life-changing offer that could bring an MLB star to Washington. Jerry Dipoto could go in several directions, but Correa is the most intriguing.
- Carlos Correa stats (2021): 26 home runs, 104 runs scored, 92 RBIs, .279/.366/.458 slash, 131 OPS+
J.P. Crawford doesn’t need to lose his job, at least dot in 2022. He is outstanding with the glove and teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros have proven the value of outstanding defense from the infield. Instead, Houston could pitch Correa on transitioning to third base. He would fill the void left by Kyle Seager, offering elite production at the hot corner and making his case for a Gold Glove every year.
The Mariners could also go a step further, which might be necessary considering the completion in the bidding war. Adding another year onto a potential contract offer, potentially a 10-year, $325 million deal, might convince him that Seattle is the best landing spot for him. With Correa signed, the Mariners’ future lineup could feature him, Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic and Noelvi Marte leading this team for years to come.