Correa declines Astros' qualifying offer

Verlander also passes on QO but agrees to new contract with Houston

November 17th, 2021

Astros ace and star shortstop both rejected the $18.4 million qualifying offer extended by Houston ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

Less than an hour after the qualifying offer deadline passed, Fox Sports analyst and Verlander’s brother Ben announced that the two-time Cy Young Award winner was re-signing with Houston. Verlander and the Astros agreed to a one-year, $25 million deal with a player option for 2023, a source told's Mark Feinsand.

Although Verlander's decision on the qualifying offer was uncertain, Correa was always expected to decline.

Correa, 27, officially becomes a free agent and one of the hottest shortstops on the market this winter. KRIV-TV in Houston reported Saturday that the Astros recently offered a five-year, $160 million contract that was also declined.

Correa is one of five big-name shortstops on the free-agent market, joining Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Javier Báez and Marcus Semien. He can continue to negotiate with the Astros or decide to sign elsewhere.

Correa, who recently won the 2021 Platinum Glove Award, slashed .279/.366/.485 this year as he helped the Astros to the American League pennant before they fell in six games to Atlanta in the World Series. Correa has been open about his desire for a long-term contract, which he figures to receive on the free-agent market.

If Correa signs with another club in free agency, the Astros would receive a compensatory pick in next year’s MLB Draft.

Verlander, who will be 39 by Opening Day, has missed nearly two full seasons with an arm injury and underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last fall. He pitched just six innings in 2020 before landing on the injured list. In his last full season in 2019, Verlander posted a 21-6 record with a 2.58 ERA over 223 innings.

His new contract isn’t surprising, considering how quickly the free-agent market for pitchers has moved. Verlander is the third notable signing this offseason, following Noah Syndergaard and Eduardo Rodriguez. Syndergaard finalized a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels, while Rodriguez signed a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers.