The Astros traded Carlos Correa and Trevor Story to the Diamondbacks on Sunday night, just hours before the deadline.
This is a ranking of the best fits for Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. The rankings are based on where these two players would fit in the MLB 2021.
Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are the only two free agents in the long-hyped superstar shortstop class of 2021-22.
The shortstops have been coming off the board one by one since Francisco Lindor signed a 10-year, $341 million agreement with the Mets immediately before the 2021 season: Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Javier Baez. When the labor conflict between the owners and the players is settled, Correa, Story, and a slew of other clubs should be interested in them.
Story and Correa’s stories are now more than ever interwoven, despite their very different circumstances.
This offseason’s fundamentals are straightforward: A handful of organizations are in desperate need of shortstops. Correa and Story are the top players available at that position. But there’s more to it than that. One of the advantages of being a big league shortstop is that you can play other positions well if you can play shortstop effectively. As a result, Correa and Story are not just suited to teams in need of a shortstop improvement, but also to teams in need of an infield upgrade in general.
Once baseball’s transactions resume at full throttle, this could guarantee a strong market for these two standouts. Isn’t it easy, like we said? The law of supply and demand.
Unfortunately, things are seldom as clear as they look in baseball economics. After all, who could have guessed that the 102-loss Texas Rangers would wind up with Semien and Seager when free agency began?
With the owners and players standing firm on “core economic issues” (i.e., how to divide the spoils), let’s take a look at the likely markets for Correa and Story, with the caveat that the outcome of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations may have an impact on this analysis in ways we can’t predict right now.
Where do you think Correa and Story will end up?
Let’s start with a side-by-side comparison of the two.
|Player||2022 Age||G||bWAR||OPS+||DRS||Proj. $|
|Correa||27||752||34.1||127||+67||9 years/$297 million|
|Story||29||745||26.7||112||+69||5 years/$115 million|
Correa is younger, in fact, the youngest of the top-tier free agents this winter, which is one of the reasons he led almost all of the free-agent lists before it all began. Despite the fact that his career started a year before Story’s, he has only appeared in seven more games due to a slew of injuries. Despite this, Correa has produced greater on-field value, has been a better hitter when ballpark effects are taken into account, and has equaled Story’s defensive brilliance.
According to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, the expected deal terms reflect the discrepancy between the two. Although the situation has altered since then, the dramatic contrast in these two excellent players’ baseline economic expectations remains.
Let’s make another comparison, this time with another 6-foot-4 shortstop from baseball’s history, to emphasize Correa’s stratospheric standing as a free agency.
|*until the age of 26|
After seven major league seasons, Correa is almost a carbon copy of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. in terms of numbers, body type, and defensive value (particularly arm strength). The main distinction is the number of games played, which is a significant difference. Of course, no one compares to Ripken when it comes to durability. Another way to look at it is that, as impressive as Correa’s stats seem to be, consider what they may have been if he had been a bit healthier.
What this means is that, in terms of on-field effect and long-term influence, Correa should be the first choice for suitors, with Story serving as a backup plan. However, due of Correa’s injury history and the apparent disparity in their asking prices, the decision between them isn’t as simple as it seems.
What does it mean for Correa now that Lindor has signed a 10-year, $341 million deal and Seager has signed a 10-year, $325 million free agent contract with Texas?
Correa may logically seek for the longest contract and the greatest average yearly value of the three. So, at the very least, we’re talking about an 11-year deal at about $35 million each season, for a total value of $385 million. As excellent as Correa is, $385 million seems excessive, placing him somewhere between Mike Trout’s ($426.5 million) and Mookie Betts’ ($365 million) contracts. The comparisons, on the other hand, are comps. While it’s difficult to specify which club would pay Correa $385 million, logic leads us to that conclusion. But, as we all know, rationality and free agency are only loosely linked, and few clubs can or would be prepared to take a $385 million pill.
Also, bear in mind that there are arguments that both Correa and Story would be better served by pursuing shorter-term contracts with a greater average value. Both players were given a qualifying offer, which means they have draft pick compensation that would be lost if they went free (pending the terms of the new CBA). It’s also a question of Correa’s age and the likelihood of returning to the market while still in his prime. For Story, it’s a question of putting together a better-platform season and demonstrating his ability to put up numbers outside of Coors Field.
We’ll attempt to keep all of this in mind as we move through the teams. Let’s start by eliminating a few teams.
Not a fit
Baltimore Orioles: Given the Ripken parallel and the Orioles’ precarious financial situation, you might argue that Correa should be their long-term cornerstone player. But that isn’t the case in Baltimore right now.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers’ focus no longer has to be on the center of their infield after adding Semien and Seager.
Pittsburgh Pirates: They’re simply not in the proper place right now. It never seems to matter where Pittsburgh is.
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Kansas City Royals: Given the possibility of having three starting-caliber shortstops on their 2022 roster in Bobby Witt Jr., Adalberto Mondesi, and Nicky Lopez, the Royals already have a middle infield jigsaw to solve.
New York Mets: While you can’t rule out the Mets spending big money now, with the presence of Lindor, the need for starting pitching, and the strong depth throughout the squad, it’s difficult to see them pursuing Correa or Story. This would change if the Mets could find a buyer for Robinson Cano, but good luck with that.
San Diego Padres: The Padres are already juggling money and have full rosters at second base, shortstop, and third base, with top prospect CJ Abrams on the way.
Cleveland Guardians: The Guardians are unlikely to spend any more money than their predecessors, and their infield depth chart is already extensive.
Cincinnati Reds: Last season, the Reds could have used an outstanding shortstop. They’re now reorganizing their payroll. Besides, Kyle Farmer has shown to be a capable fill-in at the position, prospect Jose Barrero isn’t far away, and the Reds have other highly regarded infield prospects in the system.
As usual, the Oakland Athletics are reducing their salary.
High-ticket investments are unusual and targeted with the Tampa Bay Rays. With Wander Franco’s deal, they’ve already splurged this offseason. Brandon Lowe, who hit 39 home runs last season, is another infielder they have. They also have additional infielders on the way, such as Vidal Brujan, who may have to go to the outfield simply to make the team.
So there are just 20 teams left! From there, we’ll aim to grade the fits by assigning a one- to five-star rating to each team.
A one-star rating is appropriate.
Colorado Rockies: The Rockies constantly say that they are attempting to contend, and re-signing Story would at the very least justify their choice not to deal him before the deadline. They don’t have to worry about the qualifying offer they made to Story since he is a free agent. And resurrecting Story would restore at least part of the fan base’s trust in the franchise. Finally, the Rockies are the only club that won’t have to guess what Story’s stats will be like once he’s no longer playing at Coors Field. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks would prefer not to invest so much of their salary in a single player, as Correa would. You may, however, persuade yourself to support Story with the Diamondbacks. Arizona did lose 110 games last season, which is perhaps the greatest reason this is a long shot. The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, have signed a top closer (Mark Melancon), indicating that they have not pressed the reset button.
Milwaukee Brewers: This doesn’t seem to be a probable destination for Correa or Story, but the Brewers have a curious (and successful) history of surprising fans. Story, in particular, may be useful as a short-term third baseman in Milwaukee. Unless they can keep a Story deal around $50 million, the draft pick compensation may be too much for the Brewers.
A two-star rating is appropriate.
Chicago Cubs: With some of their recent trades, the Cubs have increased the floor of their 2022 roster. The funds are there to give Correa anything he wants, and he would increase both the ceiling and the floor. Even yet, it’s difficult to think the Cubs would spend $300 million or more on a player so soon after pushing the reset button. Also, the Cubs need to see whether Nico Hoerner can fill in at shortstop and if he and Nick Madrigal can lock down the middle infield in the coming years.
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Minnesota Twins: The Twins tend to like splurging on short-term items. While they may get away with merely a competent all-around defender in the infield, they could use the sort of lineup enhancement that Correa would provide. The time, though, isn’t quite perfect. Assuming that prospect Royce Lewis completely recovers from his torn ACL, the Twins will need to see what he can do in the major leagues in the near future. Minnesota also has to concentrate its energies on the starting lineup.
The Cardinals aren’t going to sign Correa to a long-term contract, and although Story is a wonderful on-field match, St. Louis isn’t known for being a free-agent hotbed. It’s generally via a trade that the Redbirds make a big statement. The Cardinals have said that they are satisfied with a shortstop duo of Paul DeJong and Edmundo Sosa over the summer. We’ll take their word for it.
A three-star rating is appropriate.
Story would be a fantastic match here on a short-term deal, while Correa would work on any contract length. Seattle Mariners: With Seattle pressing hard for near-term contention, Story would be a wonderful fit here on a short-term deal. Keep in mind that the Mariners have a highly promising shortstop prospect in Noelvi Marte in the pipeline, but he’s just 20 years old and only played in High-A last season. Correa may be a good fit for a team that has previously been in the top ten in terms of salary but is presently cash-strapped. He’s a long-term fit, as he should be given the degree of investment, but even in 2022, he not only offers much-needed star power to the position group, but he’s the correct type of star in that he puts the bat on the ball. For a squad that hit.226 as a whole in 2021, it’s a necessary talent.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox have completely botched the process of completing a team brimming with high-ceiling potential. They botched the trade that sent Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer to the Cubs in exchange for Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera last season. Cesar Hernandez, the rumored Madrigal replacement, had his option rejected and is currently with the Nationals. The White Sox would have been substantially better off, both short and long term, if they had stayed the course. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20, and the only way to solve the second-base situation right now is to throw money at it. Semien was the ideal candidate, but Story is up next.
Atlanta Braves: With Dansby Swanson at shortstop, the Braves recently won the World Series, and he’ll be back in 2022. Swanson, on the other hand, had a poor 2021 season and is set to become a free agency following next season. There will be money to play with if Freddie Freeman walks, particularly because cornerstone players Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. have inked team-friendly long-term deals. Also, the Braves don’t have a highly rated shortstop prospect, so they’ll have to seek outside the organization if they want to move on from Swanson. Perhaps the logical way would be to concentrate on Freeman and sign Swanson to a low-cost agreement, but Atlanta might be interested in getting involved with Correa or Story.
Miami Marlins: If the Marlins chose to make Correa the face of their next reconstruction, he’d be a perfect match for them. He would elevate the franchise’s profile and serve as a rallying point for supporters from all walks of life in South Florida. Because of its pitching depth, Miami should be at least a respectable competitor in the coming years. The position group’s anchor would be Correa. The issue is (of course) money, since the Marlins have not generally spent at the level required to sign Correa to a long-term deal. However, they did sign Giancarlo Stanton to a $325 million agreement under a previous ownership group, so you never know. Alternatively, a shorter-term agreement with a high yearly value may tempt Correa, enhancing Miami’s immediate reputation and allowing time for youngster Kahlil Watson to mature.
The Tampa Bay Sox, er, the Boston Devil Rays… it’s all a little confused. Isn’t it true that the Red Sox should be in on every major free agent? This does not seem to be the situation any more. Nonetheless, with Xander Bogaerts under contract through 2025 (provided he doesn’t opt out after 2022), Boston doesn’t seem to have a pressing need for a flashy shortstop. However, either Story or Correa would improve the defense at the position, allowing Bogaerts to shift to second base or third base if Rafael Devers is moved elsewhere in Boston. There isn’t a lot of money on the books for the long run. Marcelo Mayer, a 2021 draftee, is a promising shortstop prospect for the Red Sox, but he’s only getting started. It would make a lot of sense to make a significant short-term offer to either Story or Correa.
A four-star rating is appropriate.
The Washington Nationals are a great fit for Correa. They’ve had experience with the kind of payrolls that can support him. They have a short-term hole at shortstop, but if prospect Brady House develops over the next several years, they can move Correa to third base. They can demonstrate to Juan Soto that the club is committed to winning in the long run, and that signing Soto to a contract extension is the organization’s top priority until it does or does not happen. Going big on Correa would be the best proof yet that Washington’s renovation is of the quick-turnaround sort.
Toronto Blue Jays: Regardless of position, the Blue Jays are just striving to improve. They’ll be OK with Bo Bichette at shortstop for the time being, but they still signed Semien last year and made him their second baseman. This time, they may do something similar with either Correa or Story, but possibly place one of them in the hot corner or bump Bichette. In 2021, the Blue Jays had a unique position group, but Semien was a key part of it, and now that he’s in Texas, they have a hole in the infield for a star-level talent.
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Houston Astros: The Astros came up one game short of winning the World Series in 2019, lost in the ALCS in 2020, and then fell in the World Series in 2021 by two games. Another Houston club (the Oilers) spoke about pounding on the door and the need to kick the dadgum thing in back in the late 1970s. That’s where the Astros are right now, and it’s hard to see how letting Correa depart and handing the job to prospect Jeremy Pena can help them get there. The Astros can and should be first in line if Correa’s market alternatives diminish to the point where he wants to max out on a three-year contract or less. If he refuses to return, Story should be their next port of call.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants have a lot of salary capacity that isn’t being utilized, both in 2022 and beyond. They can identify certain players who will enter the market in the future years who they believe will serve as core squad anchors worth investing in for the long term. Even if he has to play off the shortstop position for a year or two while Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria finish their amazing careers, Correa is a tremendous prospect. In aspects of team-building that concentrate upon organizational efficiency, the Giants have equaled or exceeded the Dodgers. The next step is to equal the Dodgers’ star power.
Los Angeles Dodgers: It could be hard to put Correa, who was at the heart of the 2017 Astros, on the Dodgers, but winning overrides everything. The Dodgers may continue to pursue the tiny group of guys who truly improve their squad. Even if the Angels are able to sign Trea Turner to a long-term contract and Gavin Lux shows to be a first-class shortstop, Correa is that guy. The Dodgers have plenty of resources, since they are not just flush with cash, but they also have a lot of salary flexibility beyond 2022.
A five-star rating is appropriate.
Los Angeles Angels: With so much money going to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon on long-term deals, and the need to sign Shohei Ohtani to a comparable deal approaching, the long-term version of a Correa contract could be too much, particularly given the Angels’ need for pitching. However, a shorter-term deal may work for him or Story, and the Angels should be prepared to spend large on a contract of that length to address a critical need on their team. If they succeed, Ohtani will undoubtedly approve, which may be the most essential thing of all.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are now playing with house money after signing Baez. Because of his extended friendship with Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, Correa has always appeared like a solid match for them as a core bat for Detroit’s approaching reconstruction. Baez’s contract isn’t going to break the bank, but if the Tigers want to make another free-agent splash, this is the one to do it with. While the Tigers have amassed a sizable pool of prospects during their slump, many of whom are either in the majors or on their way there, they have yet to find a long-term solution at shortstop. Correa is the solution.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies make sense as a landing destination for either Story on a short-term contract or Correa at the top end of the wage range. This team’s infield defense has to be improved, and any talented shortstop can help with that. In such situation, Didi Gregorius might slip to third base or roam about. And, if prospect Bryson Stott shows ready sooner rather than later, he may replace Gregorius and Jean Segura in the rotation during their last seasons in Philadelphia. The Phillies’ salary in 2022 might be formidable, but after that, Correa would become the team’s fourth high-priced player, if they have the resources to do so.
Last but not least…
The New York Yankees: Correa is a perfect match for the Bronx. Even here, money counts, as the Yankees have Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton under contract until at least 2027, with the need to lock down Aaron Judge for the long haul looming. It’s more about coping with the long-term repercussions of the new CBA for New York than anything else, and we don’t know what they are yet. We do know that in terms of salary and income, they can easily afford Correa.
Correa would play shortstop for a few years before moving to the hot corner when Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza seem ready, or one of them might be moved to get quality pitching. In any case, the Yankees’ primary focus is likely to be on winning another World Series in the near future. Correa not only assists them throughout the regular season, but he also has the potential to push them over the top in October. After all, Correa is already third all-time in postseason win probability gained at the age of 26.
So, in the end, it could have been easier than we expected. A shortstop is the finest free agent on the market. The Yankees, baseball’s wealthiest club, are in desperate need of a top player in that position. And if Correa ends up in the Bronx, all of these clubs’ attention will be drawn to the only remaining great shortstop: Story. Perhaps we don’t need to think about it any more.
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Trevor Story is a young player with a lot of potential, and he is currently playing in the MLB. Carlos Correa is also an amazing player, but he has had some injury issues. This article will rank the best fits for both players. Reference: trevor story contract.
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