Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch, Carlos Correa spotted together in Houston

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The Detroit Tigers have already checked a few boxes on their offseason to-do list and made substantial upgrades, trading for catcher Tucker Barnhart and signing left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million contract.

But there's still a need at shortstop.

On Thursday, Tigers manager AJ Hinch and shortstop Carlos Correa, who is expected to receive a $300 million contract in free agency, were seen together having brunch at the Tiny Boxwoods restaurant in Houston, where Hinch lives in the offseason.

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It's not the first time Hinch and Correa have spoken in the past month.

The Tigers have internally discussed the top five shortstops on the market: Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Trevor Story and Javier Baez, as well as Chris Taylor. The organization is also looking to acquire another starting pitcher.

Correa is considered the best player available and has a close connection to Hinch. They spent five years together with the Houston Astros and won the 2017 World Series, so it's safe to say Hinch had both his recruiting and friendship caps on for brunch.

The 27-year-old Correa hit .279 with 26 home runs, 92 RBIs, 75 walks and 116 strikeouts last season. He won his first Gold Glove at shortstop and carried the Astros to their third World Series appearance in the past five years. He has 79 games of playoff experience.

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Sep 19, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) throws the ball to first base to complete a double play against Arizona Diamondbacks player Ketel Marte (4) during the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) throws the ball to first base to complete a double play against Arizona Diamondbacks player Ketel Marte (4) during the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers' AJ Hinch goes to brunch with Carlos Correa