TODAY: Correa tells Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle that he wasn’t aware of his agent’s comments and provided a somewhat different outlook, noting that he’d be “more than glad to listen” if approached with an offer. While Correa said that he has an open mind, and emphasized that he isn’t focused on a long-term deal, he did suggest that there’s something of a time limit on his willingness to consider signing away free-agent years.
“I’m not shutting the door,” he said. “The price has got be right, you know what I mean? And it’s got to be early. Once I get to arbitration there’s no turning back.”
YESTERDAY: Carlos Correa “is never going to do an [early] multiyear contract,” agent Greg Genske tells Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. The 22-year-old, who has already established himself as a star, is instead content to go year to year for the time being. Indeed, a “friend” tells Heyman that Correa’s “mentality has always been that he’s going to play it out.”
The organization’s decision to renew Correa at the league minimum in each of the last two years probably doesn’t help things, but that doesn’t seem to be the main driver here. (Per Heyman, Houston was offering around $565K this year and might have gone a bit higher, but Correa was willing to take the hit rather than agreeing to a price tag with which he didn’t agree.) Instead, as Heyman notes, the fact that he has already lined up significant sponsorship deals helps ensure that there’ll be plenty of earnings even if he suffers an injury or surprising performance downturn.
It’s worth noting, too, that Correa took home a $4.8MM bonus when he was taken first overall in the 2012 draft, which means he had already locked up life-changing money before reaching the majors. And though he probably won’t reach arbitration eligibility until 2019 — with 1.119 years of service entering the year, he’s unlikely to qualify as a Super Two player next winter — his early performance levels all but assure he’ll be richly compensated from that point forward.
Perhaps it’s still possible that the sides could end up exploring an extension at some point in the future, when Correa reaches arbitration and begins nearing free agency. Whether or not the minor salary squabbles impact that remain to be seen, but in all likelihood future arb discussions will be of greater import. Most important of all, of course, will be the willingness of Correa to forego a chance to test the open market when he’ll be entering only his age-27 season in 2022.
For the time being, Correa and the ’Stros will continue to enjoy what has thus far been a highly productive relationship. Correa carried a .276/.354/.475 batting line with 42 home runs in just over one thousand plate appearances entering the current season, making him one of the best-hitting shortstops in all of baseball. While there’s currently a bumper crop of shortstops sprouting around the game, some of whom rate as more talented defenders, Correa is undeniably a top-quality all-around talent who rates as one of the best young players in baseball.