While buzz connecting free agent shortstop Carlos Correa to the Chicago Cubs has increased during the MLB lockout, Ken Rosenthal believes it’s just noise.
Correa still needs a home, in part due to the work stoppage initiated by MLB team owners. The top free agent shortstop on the market wants a contract within the range of 10 years, and likely more than fellow shortstop Corey Seager made at $325 million.
Nico Hoerner is an intriguing young shortstop, but the Cubs could always move him around the infield, instead signing one of the top remaining players in free agency once the lockout ends.
However, per Rosenthal, it’s far more likely the Cubs sign, say, a Trevor Story than Correa, as he’ll limit their spending moving forward.
"“Correa to the Cubs has been something at least fans have talked about particularly since the Stroman signing because the Stroman signing certainly signaled, ‘Hey, the Cubs aren’t conceding 2022,'” Rosenthal said on The Athletic’s Baseball Show podcast. “They’re going to go about it maybe a little bit differently: Sign some free agents to shorter deals and go about it in that way. Shorter deals, and that’s the key phrase here. If indeed the Cubs are going to take that course, I don’t expect that they’re going to get Correa done. And I know fans are going to think, ‘Well maybe Correa will sign for shorter because this has lingered and now he’s going to be available, a lot of the bigger free agents have signed, it’s going to be a mad rush with all the free agents,’ but I don’t see that happening and I don’t see Carlos Correa having his price drop simply because there’s a lockout, simply because he did not sign before Dec. 1. He remains what he was entering the offseason: The best available free agent on the market, because of his age, because of what he’s accomplished, all of that. I still think he’s getting 10 years, I still think he’s getting $300 million-plus and I believe he still might get over Corey Seager.”"
Ken Rosenthal: Don’t expect Carlos Correa to adjust contract expectations
Rosenthal, of course, would know these sorts of things.
Correa on a shorter-term deal makes sense for the team, as it would allow the Cubs some flexibility and give the 27-year-old shortstop another chance to cash in at 30 years old. However, Correa would rather make his money now than take a chance on himself on the other side of 30. This makes sense in theory.
Taking less years now would be doing the Cubs a massive favor, and Correa a disservice. There’s no guarantee Correa will be able to receive this kind of money three years from now, or at any point in his 30’s. Shortstops don’t particularly age well, even one as talented as Correa, and traditionally end up being moved to third base.
If Correa is another member of this trend, his value would decrease significantly.