Carlos Correa has found a long-term home. The superstar shortstop has reportedly agreed to a whopping 13-year, $350 million deal with San Francisco Giants.
BREAKING: Shortstop Carlos Correa and the San Francisco Giants are in agreement on a 13-year, $350 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 14, 2022
The reported terms would make this the largest deal in Giants history, the most money ever committed to a shortstop (or any position that isn't outfielder) and the most a team has ever paid for an outside free agent. In the history of MLB, only Mike Trout ($426.5 million), Mookie Betts ($365 million) and Aaron Judge ($360 million) have been guaranteed more in a contract.
Correa, currently 28, will be 41 when the deal ends.
Correa punted on last year's free agency, and it paid off
A leading member of the Houston Astros core that both won the 2017 World Series and tarnished the team's legacy with a sign-stealing scheme, Correa originally reached free agency during last winter’s lockout-interrupted bonanza. Not finding a long-term deal to his liking, he shocked the baseball world by accepting a three-year, $105 million offer from the Minnesota Twins that allowed him to opt out this winter and join another loaded shortstop class alongside Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.
In the meantime, Correa posted another strong season — batting .291 with 22 homers and a 140 OPS+ across 136 games, tops among the shortstop stars on the market — and earned rave reviews for the winning focus he brought to the Twins organization. “He has the highest standard of excellence,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser. “You can't expect more out of yourself and out of your group than he does. And it rubs off on everyone. It even rubs off on me.”
As potential franchise shortstops go, it would be tough to find a better prototype than Correa, especially at his age. His A-Rod-style body contains the most physical potential — and portends the most long-term stability — of this offseason’s quartet. His maximum exit velocities are the highest. His defensive work at short is the most consistent of the bunch, and his superior arm will allow him to move to third base the most easily. The biggest knock on him is a penchant for minor but persistent injuries, but he hasn’t missed a substantial chunk of time since 2019.
Some might point to a stain from his time with the Astros, but Correa distinguished himself amid intense scrutiny as a leader who could speak about the club’s mistakes and blaze a winning trail forward.
Giants land their star in Correa
The Giants were in a somewhat awkward position. After a dream 2021 season that saw San Francisco win a franchise-record 107 games and finally unseat the Los Angeles Dodgers from the NL West throne, the Giants massively regressed last season, going only .500 and finishing behind the Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers have been quiet so far this offseason but figure to be shooting for their usual 100-win pace next year. The Padres landed Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280 million deal and are about to get Fernando Tatis Jr. back, not to mention a full year of Juan Soto.
The Padres are young, and the Dodgers have one of the best farm systems in baseball, while the Giants ranked 18th in MLB Pipeline's most recent farm rankings. Neither the present nor the near future were looking encouraging for the Giants, but Correa changes that and signals that the club is ready to swing its financial might after three straight years outside the top 10 in MLB payroll. We got an inkling of that with the team's flirtation with Judge, but this one's for real.
The Giants had a longtime starting shortstop in Brandon Crawford, but moving on to Correa makes plenty of sense, considering that Crawford will be 36 years old on Opening Day and is coming off a rough season in which he slashed .231/.308/.344. There might be some moving around to do, but this deal gives the Giants a franchise player at a premium position for years to come.