This year's MLB free agency class has a clear top prize, and that is Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. The controversial player will be 27 next season, and he will demand top-dollar from whichever team signs him.
Correa is still in his prime, and he would turn any team into a playoff contender. If he goes to the right squad, he may turn them into World Series contenders. But who should sign him to a massive contract?
*Odds via SportsLine Oddsmakers
3. Detroit Tigers (+250)
As it currently stands, the Tigers are the betting favorite to land Correa, and there are two reasons why. First of all, the Tigers have a ton of money to spend and can probably offer Correa as much money as he pleases. Secondly, he would reunite with his former manager A.J. Hinch.
The Tigers are also a team that flashed a lot of potential for the future in 2021. A 77-85 record does not look great, but they finished third in the AL Central and went well above their 68.5 win total for the season.
Correa is arguably the best shortstop in baseball, and that is because of the raw power that he possesses. The Tigers only hit 179 home runs last season, and Detroit shortstops posted an fWAR of -0.1 in 2021.
If Correa prioritizes winning, then maybe Detroit is not the place to go this offseason. However, it seems like Correa is all about the money, and Detroit makes a lot of sense if that is the case.
2. New York Yankees (+300)
Did you really think that the Yankees would not be on this list? Anytime there is a top-tier free agent, the Bronx Bombers are in the running.
It seemed like the Yankees had their shortstop for the future when Gleyber Torres burst onto the scene in 2018 when he slashed .271/.240/.480 with an OPS of .820 and 24 home runs. He came back in 2019 better across the board and slugged 38 bombs. Since then, Torres is slashing .255/.337/.366 with an OPS of .703 and only 12 home runs in 169 games.
Although Torres has been bad over the last two seasons, he still has a lot of trade value due to his age, potential, and his contract. Sending Torres out of the Bronx for a prospect or two and bringing in Correa would be a dream scenario for the Yankees.
Money is just an object for the Yankees. After another lost season that saw them fall to the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card game, the pressure to go back to the World Series for the first time since 2009 is at its breaking point. The Yankees need to win, and Correa is the best option available to help them get back to the Fall Classic.
1. Seattle Mariners (+700)
The Mariners came oh-so-close to reaching the postseason for the first time since 2001. They ended up on the wrong side of the standings, but the fact that Seattle was able to make things interesting on the final day of the season is a positive sign for this franchise.
Seattle already has a young, promising shortstop in J.P. Crawford, but with Kyle Seager not returning to the team, Crawford could easily slide on over to third for Correa to take over as shortstop.
All signs indicate that Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto will open up the checkbook this offseason, and if they can snatch Correa away from a division rival, that would instantly make Seattle the favorite to take home the AL West divison. The Mariners still have a long way to go as a team, but adding Correa is the first step, and it is a massive step.
If you are a betting man, taking him to join Seattle at +700 is an incredible value play.
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