Ranking the likeliest suitors for Correa

November 26th, 2021

Some of the biggest names in baseball are on the free-agent market this year, but there are arguably four Big Ones: , , and .

For the next few days, we’ll be taking looks at each of these top four, their top suitors ... and ranking ‘em. There are plenty of teams who want the top-tier options, the platinum plan, the Glengarry leads. But who’s most likely to sign them? That’s the goal of the Free Agency Power Rankings: To give you our best guess.

We begin with Correa, likely to be the player to receive the most money this postseason and a player who could conceivably challenge Francisco Lindor’s massive contract with the Mets last year. Correa is a champion, a defensive whiz, a postseason monster and maybe the best bat on the market. He’s also, because of his association with the Astros' scandal four years ago, a bit … polarizing.

For now, though, let’s make some Correa predictions.

1. Tigers

Such is the state of the current Correa uncertainty that a team that hasn’t had a winning record in six seasons -- one that lost 114 games just two years ago -- is the current clubhouse leader. The fit obviously makes a lot of sense: The Tigers are clearly an up-and-coming team, they appear to have money to spend, and an investment in a youngish player who has proven he can win is the sort of smart thing a sleeper giant like the Tigers can do. You can see how this would work. But enough to make Detroit the favorite?

Maybe the Tigers are the most likely team at this point, but if you get a chance, it still makes sense to bet on the field. Clearly the club would love the 27-year-old. Are we sure Correa, who has never once played on a team with a losing record, is ready to take the Tigers plunge? Detroit, somewhat famously, signed Ivan Rodríguez to a big four-year deal fresh off a 119-loss season in 2003 and was in the World Series just three years later, so there is some precedent here.

2. Yankees

This should be the obvious fit. Sure, Correa’s a right-handed hitter, and the Yankees could use a lefty; that’s why you hear so much about Seager in the Bronx. But these are the Yankees. They’re the richest team in baseball, still, and they have an obvious hole at shortstop. And hey, as it turns out, the top free agent on the market is a shortstop. And Correa’s bravado would, theoretically anyway, play great in pinstripes. The problem, of course, is that because of that whole Astros business, Yankees fans despise Correa. Would they ever accept him at Derek Jeter’s old spot? Sure, if he produces, they’d cheer for him, but if he slumps so much as once, they’re going to be all over him. And they will never, ever forget. Suddenly the fit doesn’t look so obvious, does it?

3. Astros

The Astros seemed to take themselves out of the running by re-signing Justin Verlander to a one-year deal that could be worth $50 million: That’s a lot of cash to give to someone if you’re planning on going big for the shortstop who came up in your system. But the Astros still have a Correa-sized hole to fill, and no one would fill it better than him. It’s not that crazy, you know. The Tigers and Correa might not fit, the Yankees might not want to deal with their fanbase reactions and other teams might not want to pay the full freight. Stranger things have definitely happened.

4. Rangers

Texas seems to be hinting that it is going to spend this offseason, though local kid Trevor Story might be a better short-term fit. Then again: What business do the Rangers have thinking short-term? If they want to get back to the top of the American League West, they’re going to need stars, and Correa is a big one. And it’d have extra oomph stealing him from their in-state rivals.

5. Dodgers

Los Angeles would seemingly have enough money wrapped up in everybody else that taking on another huge free agent would seem like a big risk. But the Dodgers, if they don’t bring back Seager, might like Trea Turner at second base and want to shore up their defense (and of course the offense) with Correa. This is a moonshot, but the Dodgers aren’t afraid to add to something that’s already a team strength.

6. Twins

Last year was a nightmare in every possible way, but the Twins still have a bunch of talent, and they might even have some money freed up to spend. They don’t play in the toughest division in baseball, and the best way to assure they’re a perpetual contender is to sign a guy like Correa long term. But does Minnesota have the stomach for a contract like this?

7. Phillies

Some people consider the Phils a sleeper team for Correa, though this team is rather top-heavy as is. They also have a lot bigger holes than at shortstop. But if they get desperate -- and they should probably already be desperate -- you can see it.

8. Mariners

Another AL West rival that would love to swipe Correa away, the Mariners are right on the cusp of contention and would seem ideal to build the next generation of stars around him. J.P. Crawford is an obvious road block, but if you’ve got a chance to get someone like Correa, you wouldn’t let something like that stop you. Crawford is good, he’s not that good.

9. Cardinals

The Cards need a shortstop, but Correa sure seems like he’d be way out of their price range, particularly with the number of years he’d demand. There are lower-cost options that would seem to make more sense for them.

10. Blue Jays

Losing Marcus Semien gives the Blue Jays a potential line on Correa, but again, this isn’t a team where offense is a big issue. (Though defense sure is.) They’re another dark horse here.