7 takeaways from Correa’s big deal

December 14th, 2022

The next biggest free-agent shoe, it has dropped: Late Tuesday night, Carlos Correa and the San Francisco Giants came to terms on a 13-year, $350 million contract, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The club has not confirmed. It’s a stunning deal, another in a long line of them this offseason, and one that will have ramifications for years to come.

Here are seven immediate takeaways from the deal.

1. The Giants at last have their centerpiece. Even when they won 107 games two years ago -- a truly staggering achievement that still sort of boggles the mind -- the Giants felt more like a collection of supporting pieces rather than one with a star in the middle around which everything else revolved. The Giants now have that star. Correa instantly becomes the face of this franchise -- which has been looking for one since Buster Posey retired in 2021 -- and he comes to town both two years younger and about $13 million per year less expensive than Aaron Judge would have. Considering how successful the Giants have been at finding complementary pieces, and at extracting excess value from veteran players on the edges, having a star you can count on every day was, essentially, the logical next step. They have him now. And they have him for a very long time.

2. Boy, the National League West sure has muscled up. Whether it’s the NL East or the NL West that has taken over for the AL East as the constant-arms-race division, it’s clear that the balance of spending power has changed. The Padres loaded up with Xander Bogaerts (and of course Juan Soto just five months ago), and now the Giants have brought in the player many considered the top free agent on the market, even counting Judge. The surprise of this offseason is that the quietest team at the top of this division has actually been the Dodgers, who of course have a massive payroll and a stocked roster of their own. That may be the source of all this activity: Teams seeing what the Dodgers have put together and deciding they’re not going to recede: They’re going to power up and challenge them. Which is exactly what we should all want them to do.

3. Dodgers fans are going to get in a lot of booing over the next 13 years. Count us among the people who believe, had the Dodgers (or Yankees) signed Correa, their fans would have gotten over considering him Public Enemy No. 1 for the sign-stealing scandal pretty quickly: There’s something about watching a guy launch homers for your favorite team that will make you come around on him. But now that Correa’s a Giant? Hoo boy. Booing Correa is going to become as big a tradition in Chavez Ravine as Dodger Dogs. If a Dodgers fan is born today, they are going to get to boo Correa all the way into high school. Rarely has a fanbase been more set up to jeer their chosen villain, for a full decade-plus, as we have here.

4. What do the Twins do now? Hey, good question. The Twins opened some eyes by bringing in Correa last year, and while he had an excellent year, it turned out to be just that one year … a year the Twins didn’t even make the playoffs. And now that non-playoff team has a big hole in the middle of its infield, and its lineup. Maybe the Twins go after Dansby Swanson now, or maybe they try to make up for it with pitching, or maybe they take a step backward and retool. But one thing is clear: The Twins are not as good without Correa.

5. Hey, are the Orioles going to do anything? The Cubs? There would seem to be no franchise more primed to make a big splash this offseason than the O's, who broke through for a winning record last year after some seasons in the wilderness. And their GM even said they were going to be aggressive this winter, which has the fanbase waiting with anticipation. And they’ve responded so far with … Kyle Gibson. Correa may have been a pipe dream -- though he shouldn’t have been, not really -- but if you’re an Orioles fan who had been promised a big winter after years of rebuilding, there is presumably a bit of frustration right now. And for that matter … weren’t the Cubs going to get a superstar at some point as well? They actually have a big hole at shortstop, and Correa would have been adored there. When do they make their splash? Or is there just not one coming?

6. Will Correa now become the perennial MVP candidate we’ve been waiting for? Correa has been a fantastic player throughout his career, obviously -- we’re not disparaging the guy. But if you remember when he broke on the scene in 2015, honestly, a lot of us wondered if he was a generational talent on a Hall of Fame track. He was a terrific defender, a potential top-shelf hitter and a charismatic, charming personality, the sort of guy you imagined on the side of a Wheaties box. Injuries have hurt him a little, and the Astros sign-stealing scandal hurt him a lot, but there is a sense that there has been more to get out of him: He has only made two All-Star Games, after all. Well, he’s now the public face of one of baseball’s signature franchises, with a fanbase that, when they love you, will love you forever. He finished fifth in MVP voting last year, the highest he has ever reached. Can he be a superstar who is in that top five on a regular basis?

7. Normal offseasons are great. Isn’t this fun? With the pandemic, and then the lockout last offseason, we haven’t had a good old-fashioned Hot Stove in way, way too long. The Winter Meetings were combustible and kinetic, big star players are signing with big name teams, rivalries are brewing … and we still have a ton of free agents to be signed. This is fun. This is how it’s supposed to be.