Five best landing spots for Carlos Correa [Updated]

Five best landing spots for Carlos Correa [Updated]

With Philadelphia out of the running, which teams still have a shot

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Previously, Deadspin said Philly was the most likely landing spot, but now someone else will land the two-time All-Star

We all knew the shortstop free agent market was going to be erratic this offseason, but apparently that was an understatement. Who would’ve thought the Padres would land Xander Bogaerts? Sure, there were rumors as the deal came closer, but most people assumed the Red Sox would’ve upped their original deal with Bogaerts in order to keep him in Beantown. Instead, he opted for a team that isn’t even in dire need of a shortstop. Yes, Fernando Tatís Jr. is suspended, but with another shortstop in town, the question becomes “Where will each of them play when Tatís returns?”

Then, Trea Turner signed an 11-year deal with the Phillies. Everybody knew the Phillies would be in the market for a game-changing shortstop, but they had been linked to other names like Bogaerts and Correa instead. Yes, Turner expressed interest in returning to the East Coast, where he grew up, but most assumed that the Yankees or Braves would be in the running considering their needs at shortstop, willingness to spend, and in Atlanta’s case, proximity to Turner’s hometown.

Despite these two perennial All-Stars off the table, there are still a few big names available at the 6 — most notably, Carlos Correa. With the Phillies off the table now, which teams are most likely to land him?

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Honorable Mention: Chicago Cubs

Honorable Mention: Chicago Cubs

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Originally a favorite to land Correa, word around the water cooler lately is that the Cubs are more interested in signing Dansby Swanson. OddsChecker US reported that the Cubs have a 60 percent chance currently to land the former No. 1 overall pick. The rumor mill surrounding Correa and the Cubs has also cooled tremendously, leading most people to believe that he’s headed elsewhere. Still, regardless of recent news, there’s always a chance that the Cubs sign Correa, especially if negotiations with Swanson fall through and he signs with another team.

The Cubs have already signed Cody Bellinger, and while the upside is there, there isn’t enough sure-fire star power for Chicago to compete in the NL Central with their current roster. The Cubs plan on competing very soon, and Correa (or Swanson) would be enormous grabs.

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5) Atlanta Braves

5) Atlanta Braves

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The 2021 World Series Champs would be in desperate need for a shortstop should Dansby Swanson in fact sign elsewhere. While this desperate need as well as the desire to keep up with the New York Mets — who just signed Justin Verlander — and reigning NL Champs Philadelphia — who just signed Trea Turner — should push Atlanta to spend big on one of their biggest holes, the Braves haven’t shown any interest in spending big money. They didn’t bring back Kenley Jansen. They’ve shown no interest in bringing Adam Duvall back, and even though the Braves made it clear they’d like to retain Swanson at the beginning of the offseason, they’ve seemingly lost him to the competition. There’s only one man the Braves haven’t totally lost out on yet. Rumors are still swirling that Correa could be on his way to the Southeast, but the Braves better make a move fast because the four teams above are all planning on making moves quickly.

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4) Boston Red Sox

4) Boston Red Sox

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Losing out on Bogaerts is tough, and the Red Sox don’t want another year like 2022. This is Boston! They don’t settle for anything less than a playoff appearance, let alone a bridge year where they finish last place in the AL East. UGH! Gross! It’s enough to make Bill Burr throw up in his mouth. Could you imagine the calls for front office changes if Boston went through a second consecutive rebuild year? It’d be horrible!

If Boston wants to compete in the daunting AL East, they need to make a big splash. Sure, one of their top prospects — Ceddanne Rafaela — should be ready for the big leagues in 2023, but he’s more suited for the outfield. They could always put Trevor Story back at short, but then what do they do at second base? Top prospect Marcelo Mayer won’t be ready for the bigs until at least late 2023, more likely 2024 though. Correa is the immediate answer that Boston needs. They obviously don’t mind spending big money and given Boston’s reliance on Bogaerts the past few years, refusing to fill the hole that Bogaerts left would be a recipe for disaster where the cooks just pray their creation doesn’t blow up in their faces.

Correa already has a relationship with Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, and as early as this morning, there were reports that the Red Sox could join the Correa sweepstakes. Jon Heyman even wrote about the mutual interest between both parties, but we’ve also all seen Heyman’s credibility take an enormous tumble recently with the whole ‘Arson Judge’ debacle.

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3) San Francisco Giants

3) San Francisco Giants

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The Giants were always going to be in the market for one of this free agent class’s biggest sluggers. After missing out on Aaron Judge, the Giants needed to turn to the likes of Correa. Although the pitching market is still one of their top priorities, missing out on someone who’s offensive skill set suits Oracle Park, would be a huge misstep, and shouldn’t be overlooked. Yes, Brandon Crawford is still in the Bay Area, but Correa has defensive versatility, having played third base for Puerto Rico’s national team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and if worst comes to worst, Correa could always make the move to second base as well.

Depending on which report you read, the Giants are either the “sure-fire favorites” or not close to landing a deal with Correa. Given that most reports dictating optimism for the Giants’ hopes of landing the star shortstop come from local news outlets covering the Giants, I’m inclined to believe the latter. That said, the Giants have way too much money to not make a big move this free agency period. While Rodón needs to be their top priority in my opinion, the Giants have the cash to land both players as well as a few role guys to flush out their depth.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers making it clear that they do not intend on pursuing Correa despite the loss of Trea Turner could diminish the Giants’ interest, since Correa likely wouldn’t be headed toward a division rival, the Giants can’t be so short-sighted. Correa is still young, plays a premium defensive position and hasn’t had such an up-and-down offensive resumé like Brandon Crawford has. The Giants are so far behind the Dodgers and Padres in the NL West that they can’t afford to not make an enormous move and Correa is the most enormous move still available. The Giants’ unwillingness to sign players to long-term contracts though could (and most likely will) push Correa away.

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2) New York Yankees

2) New York Yankees

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On a recent radio appearance, ESPN’s Buster Olney said the Yankees were “working on something big” when asked about the Carlos Correa market. Even with the re-signing of Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, there are still several holes the Yankees could fill before the start of the 2023 season. Isiah Kiner-Falefa slashed .261/.314/.327 as New York’s primary starting shortstop last season. You don’t need a PhD to understand that won’t cut it in pinstripes.

Despite Yankees’ fans holding a pretty sizable grudge against Correa for his involvement with the Astros’ 2017 cheating scandal, a scandal that saw Correa’s Astros beat the Yankees in the ALCS, most Bronx fans would likely be willing to move on if it meant their got their franchise shortstop of the next decade. Correa’s strong glove and power would play perfectly in Yankee Stadium in stark contrast to what Kiner-Falefa provided throughout most of 2022. He’d be an incredible fit if the Yankees are willing to fork up the money, and based on Olney’s reaction to the question, it seems they are.

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1) Minnesota Twins

1) Minnesota Twins

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Well, well, well, look who’s crawling back.

After originally opting out of his contract with the Twins to test the open market, the Twins have re-emerged as favorites to land Correa. OddsChecker currently gives the Twins a 60 percent chance to sign Correa. While the Twins were always going to be in the market to retain their All-Star shortstop, most people assumed that Correa wouldn’t have opted out if he wanted to stay. The contract he will and this year will likely be for as much — maybe slightly more — than he was already making with the Twins. Most people assumed he just didn’t want to be in Minnesota.

That said, the rumors out of the winter meetings seem to indicate that no team is going in as deep on Correa as the Twins. While other teams are obviously in the market, the Twins seem primed to make Correa re-think his original decision and with every big contract going to shortstops valued more highly than Correa, his market diminishes. Correa knows the Twins want him. It’s always nice to feel wanted. He has a relationship with the team already, and oddsmakers are clearly taking notice. Most sites gave the Twins around 9-1 odds, maybe a 15 percent chance of landing Correa at the start of free agency. Those odds haven’t climbed to 60 percent for no reason.

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