It’s tough to imagine Carlos Correa with any team but the Houston Astros, but the 2017 World Series champion is up for free agency after this season and could be a valuable trade chip now.
Trading a player of Correa’s caliber in the middle of the season won’t be popular among Astros fans, but given the suddenly-stacked nature of the American League West, and the fact Houston won’t be able to re-sign their star shortstop, the clock is ticking. The longer the Astros wait to lose Correa, the less they’ll receive in return. A worst-case scenario for general manager James Click is Correa leaving this offseason for nothing, and the Astros failing to make a legitimate playoff push.
Correa makes $11 million this season, and Spotrac values him at around $23.8 million were he to hit the open market right now. That valuation is unlikely to decrease by much given his track record.
Jim Crane denied reports that the Astros were shopping Correa before the season, but if we’re being honest, they’d be smart to do so right now. Correa can fetch a relatively respectable return, whereas every game played at this point is one day closer to Houston losing its shortstop for nothing.
The Astros offered Correa a six-year extension worth $120 million this offseason. Given his valuation, the gap between the two sides is unlikely to shrink. So with that in mind, which two teams would be willing to take on the uncertainty surrounding Correa’s contract, and be able to give Houston back something of value in return?