Carlos Correa remains on the free-agent market, as possible suitors like the Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Rangers have all seemingly decided not to make a serious run at him this offseason. With less than three weeks to go before Opening Day, a resolution on the Correa front seems likely to arrive sooner than later.
The incumbent Astros haven’t abandoned their pursuit. Houston’s initial five-year, $160M offer to Correa early in the offseason never seemed especially tempting for the star shortstop. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported earlier this week the Astros were preparing a new offer, noting that players in Houston camp were palpably excited about the possibility the team could bring him back.
Asked about the chances of re-upping Correa on Friday morning, Astros GM James Click demurred, via Jason Bristol of KHOU. “It’s not something we’re going to comment on one way or the other,” he said before noting that the recent signing of Niko Goodrum strengthened the club’s overall infield depth. Houston also has veteran Aledmys Díaz and top prospect Jeremy Peña as possible options if Correa heads elsewhere. Skipper Dusty Baker called Peña “the front-runner” among the in-house players at the position this week, via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.
Former Astros scouting director Mike Elias — an instrumental factor in Houston’s decision to select Correa first overall in the 2012 draft — is now running baseball operations with the Orioles. That has led to some speculation the rebuilding O’s could get into the mix for the two-time All-Star. There hadn’t previously been any firm indication Baltimore was considering such a move, but Rosenthal wrote on Thursday night the O’s could contemplate a run at Correa “if his price dropped to a level the club deemed appropriate.”
That’d require a change in tone from Elias’ comments earlier this week, when he said he didn’t anticipate the Orioles signing any players to multiyear contracts. Making an exception for Correa, though, makes some sense. Beyond Elias’ personal familiarity with the shortstop, Correa’s young enough to anchor whatever core with which the O’s emerge from their rebuild. He’s only 27 years old, and while Correa wouldn’t single-handedly make Baltimore a contender this year, he’d presumably remain an excellent player during 2023-24 campaigns when the O’s expect to be competitive.
Correa to Baltimore remains a long shot, and the caveat that it may require his asking price falling is a notable one. Still, Raul Ramos of Con Las Bases Llenas linked the O’s with Correa before Rosenthal’s report, writing the club may even had put an offer on the table. There’ll certainly be more clarity on Correa’s eventual destination fairly soon, particularly with the other star free-agent option at the position, Trevor Story, reportedly nearing a decision.