The Red Sox are quite familiar with Carlos Correa’s work. Is Boston set to make a run at the free agent star this winter?
The Sox apparently are open to anything and everything this offseason, and that includes at least taking a look at Correa, according to Jim Bowden at The Athletic. In fact, Bowden says the club could make a “quiet play” for Correa or fellow free agent infielder Marcus Semien.
“If they land Correa, I think they’ll ask Xander Bogaerts to move to second base. If they sign Semien, he would play second base.”
We’ve already discussed the idea of Semien, who is at least one notch below Correa on the middle-infield hierarchy. There aren’t many, if any, shortstops better than Correa right now.
The 27-year-old is hitting the market at the perfect time. He set career highs in home runs (26) and RBIs (104) in 2021, and his 5.8 wins above replacement (FanGraphs) also was the best single-season mark of his career. Defensively, he was a wizard in 2021. His 21 defensive runs saved were far and away the best in the majors (Andrelton Simmons was second with 14), and only Nick Ahmed has more DRS since the start of 2018.
As such, Correa will be extremely expensive. He turned down a reported six-year, $120 million extension offer in March, an offer he called “really low” at the time. Houston was roundly mocked for offering him a five-year, $160 million deal at season’s end, a move that likely was done to at least save some face before watching the cornerstone go to market. Regardless, it probably will cost twice as much to land Correa.
Fangraphs predicts Correa will land a nine-year, $297 million contract. MLB Trade Rumors forecasts a 10-year, $330 million pact. Whether there’s an appetite to spend that kind of money on one player — even one as good as Correa remains to be seen. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy spoke of the club’s devotion to its plan to rebuild the club and establish year-to-year stability.
“I think (the 2021 season) was a validation of our organizational plan and our strategy, which is to continue to build a robust organization at every single level, win at every level, and remain committed to the major league level,” Kennedy told reporters at his end-of-season media availability. “And our fans responded well to that, players responded well to that, and that?s going to be where we?re going. So in terms of the organizational place in terms of where we are, that holds true and we?re not going to deviate from that plan one bit.”
The Red Sox also have some interesting young players making the sprint toward Boston. The Sox just used the No. 4 overall pick on shortstop Marcelo Mayer. Second baseman Nick Yorke justifies Boston’s perceived decision to overdraft him with every swing he takes. Then again, hoping on players who are still at least two years from the big leagues shouldn’t dissuade a big-market team like the Sox from at least taking a look at elite players like Correa.
There’s also this: Correa has obvious connections to Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Not only was Cora the bench coach for the Astros in 2017, Correa’s third big league campaign, they’re also both Puerto Rico natives. Cora was the general manager for the Puerto Rican team at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal used that as a reason the Red Sox could have the inside track to signing Correa — all the way back in 2019.
It’s probably also worth noting the Tigers, another team thought to be among the favorites for Correa, are managed by AJ Hinch, who was the skipper for the start of Correa’s career in Houston.
The Red Sox making an earnest run at Correa feels like a bit of a long shot, especially at the moment. Crazier things have happened, though, and he certainly would help take a good team like the Red Sox and point them in the position of being great, just by signing on the dotted line.