Carlos Correa rumors: Cubs are among the nominees for Best Free Agent; Astros to share again

The owner-imposed shutdown of Major League Baseball ended Thursday, meaning teams are now once again able to sign free agents and make deals. In other words, it’s time for stars like shortstop Carlos Correa to find new homes before Opening Day (April 7th). As expected, the rumor mill has already started linking him to the teams.

According to MLB.com’s John Paul Morrosi, the Chicago Cubs “are about to play a major role in Korea’s courtship.” Meanwhile, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane Tell Mark Berman from FOX26 From Korea: “I am sure we will participate again.”

The 27-year-old entered a winter that CBS Sports ranked the best free agent on the market. This is what we wrote at the time:

Correa is so talented that if he didn’t exist he would have been created by a video game player. He’s a well above average hitter who walked and hit his personal best last season, and he did so while achieving top exit speeds that were on par with all the players in the world like Juan Soto and Jordan Alvarez. Unlike Soto and Alvarez, whose two corner players celebrate their work in the plate more than on the grass, Correa is a highly efficient defensive player with a big arm. It’s made of meat and bone, which means there are downsides to consider. His presence was sporadic earlier in his career, and it can be seen if he can maintain his high level of toughness (he appeared in 92 percent of Houston’s games in 2020-21) as he approaches his thirties. He’s also no longer a stolen threat, as he was when he first broke into the show. (He hasn’t tried one during the regular season since April 2019.) There’s also a signal-stealing scandal. George Springer’s precedent suggests Korea won’t have a Bo-like moment this winter, as his heart beats like so many trash cans with fewer shows than expected. Truthfully, even if teams showed any tendency to punish Astros players in this way, they might make Korea an exception. He might just win the Best Player award one day and, according to the authority of this list, be the best player available in the market.

He hit Korea .279/ .366/ .485 (131 OPS+) with 26 home runs last season. His contributions have been estimated at more than seven wins over substitution, according to baseball reference calculations. He finished in the top five in the MLS Player of the Year vote and made his second career an All-Star Game. He also won his first Golden Glove.

CBS Sports reported in November that the Cubs were “indicating, both publicly and privately,” that they intended to spend the money in this informal way. Chicago signed free rookie agent Marcus Strowman to a two-year, $50 million contract before closing, but they haven’t yet met their short-term needs.

It’s unclear how serious the Astros are about keeping Korea. Houston was said to have offered him a five-year extension worth $150 million before closing. That bid is less than half of the $341 million, 10-year agreement that Francesco Lindor signed with the New York Mets last spring, and which looks set to serve as a model for a Korea deal. (Korea reportedly turned down a 10-year, $275 million offer from the Detroit Tigers.)

The New York Yankees have also shown an interest in Korea, according to Morrosi. They even received his medical services before the lockdown, according to a recent report.

SportsLine’s Matt Severance pinned the Yankees as the top players to sign for Korea, with the Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays closing in the top five.

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