CORREA WATCH

How the fight for Carlos Correa could come down to these 5 teams

Crane and the Astros already offered Correa two different contracts. Photo by Getty Images.

The Astros wasted no time in trying to re-sign their All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa once the 2021 season concluded. The club initially offered him the most expensive contract in team history for $160 million over five years. The Astros have also offered him the qualifying offer which would be a one year deal worth $18.4 million.

It is unlikely his camp will accept this offer, as he looks to be the highest-paid free agent this offseason.

The Astros are not out of the conversation in regard to retaining the 27-year-old shortstop, but they will have some fierce competition for his services soon.

All teams with championship aspirations would love to have Correa in their infield, but his contract demands will scare a lot of teams off.

Most big market teams will be in play here with a few exceptions like the Mets and Cubs, as Chicago is entering into a rebuild and the Mets just signed Francisco Lindor to a $300+ million contract last off season.

The Dodgers and Padres would most likely be non-players in the Correa sweepstakes considering their contractual obligations, already high payrolls and their security of other shortstops like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trea Turner.

That leaves eight potential teams that could be a fit for the Gold Glove winning player.

Honorable Mentions:

The Angels, Giants and Cardinals could certainly afford Correa's services, but none of these teams have showed interest in the All-Star shortstop thus far.

The Giants re-signed Brandon Crawford to play on the left side of the infield and look to re-sign Kris Bryant to a long-term deal before signing a player like Correa.

As for the Angels and Cardinals, neither team appears to be willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money when they could get other players on cheaper, shorter deals.

The Angels have already locked up Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon to long-term deals, while the Cardinals have Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt committed to long-term money.

All three of these clubs could be a factor later on, but other teams pose bigger threats at the moment.

5. Red Sox

The Red Sox seem to be an unusual play here considering they already have Xander Bogaerts playing shortstop, but there have been rumors of Correa replacing him at the infield position.

The word in Boston is if they can sign Correa, they would move Bogaerts to 2nd base. Seems like a logical solution, except that Bogaerts is a free agent after the 2022 season. It seems more likely the Sox would re-sign their own guy before breaking the bank for someone who just beat them in the postseason.

Or they could sign Correa and trade Bogaerts, but that's just speculation on their end.

One other person to note in Boston is manager Alex Cora.

Correa and Cora had a close relationship when he was the bench coach for the Astros. He could be a determining factor if the 27-year-old ultimately decides to put on a Red Sox uniform.

Verdict: Not likely

4. Phillies

Albeit a seemingly random section considering the Phillies finished with an 82-80 record this past season, they have showed they are willing to spend money to acquire talent. Before the start of the 2019 season, Philadelphia signed outfielder Bryce Harper to a club record 13 years, $330 million contract.

They have spent money on quality players such as pitchers Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and catcher JT Realmuto.

The Phillies believe they are still in a win now mode despite their mediocre record over the past three seasons, so adding a player like Correa to their roster could bolster their chances of obtaining more wins.

Philadelphia does have Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura at the top of their infield, but one of these players could be moved to third base or even traded to make room for the Gold Glove winning shortstop.

Verdict: Possible

3. Yankees

This would be every Astros fan's nightmare if Correa left the team to join the Bronx Bombers. As outlandish as it may sound, he may fit in well in New York City.

He would be an instant upgrade at shortstop over Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres and would be the power hitter the Yankees have been searching for to compliment Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

New York is not afraid to spend money and be aggressive in free agency (anyone remember Gerrit Cole after the 2019 World Series?)

For Correa to "join the Dark Side" the Yankees would have to offer him the moon, and if they are the only team that offers the All-Start shortstop what he wants, it's easy to envision him in pinstripes.

Verdict: Possible

2. Astros

It may be cheating to have the Astros on this list, but they are not out of the Correa sweepstakes by any means.

Houston is the only team Correa has played for so far and he loves this city, so that's a plus.

Jim Crane has been willing to spend money in the past with additions such as Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke and signing Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman to long-term contract extensions over $100 million.

The Astros have lost both Gerrit Cole and George Springer in back-to-back offseasons. It would be sad to see three great players leave the franchise in consecutive years.

Crane and the Astros front office have already offered Correa two different contract options and look to fight to keep their home-grown shortstop in Houston.

Assuming his market dries up and no team offers him a $300 million plus contract, the Astros may sign him.

Verdict: Possible

1. Tigers

Detroit may seem odd at first, but are a perfect fit on paper.

Former Astros manger AJ Hinch had a great relationship with Correa and would love the two reunited in Detroit.

In Hinch's first season with the Tigers, he transformed a 47 win team in 2019 to a 77 win team in 2021.

Needless to say he is pushing the right buttons to make this Tigers' team competitive.

Detroit already has decent players on this roster to build around, like Akil Baddoo and decent pitching.

Adding a Carlos Correa to this team would accelerate their rebuilding phase and potentially put them in contention to win the American League Central Division for years to come.

Plus, if Detroit can convince Correa to join, who's to say they can't get other free agents such as Justin Verlander and others.

The Tigers are one or two players away from being competitive again, and adding the All-Star shortstop to their team would do wonders for Detroit.

Verdict: Likely

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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