TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY

Here's how Astros, Correa saga  could take an unexpected turn

Could Correa return to the Astros in 2023? Composite image by Jack Brame.

Nobody’s calling anybody a liar, but somebody’s not telling the truth. Or there’s been a whole lot of misunderstanding. Or maybe Kellyanne Conway was right, there can be “alternate facts.”

Carlos Correa says the Astros never made him a contract offer after the owners and players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement two weeks ago.

Astros general manager James Click says the team was “engaged throughout the process,” which could be interpreted as the Astros continued to negotiate with Correa until the bitter end – right up to Correa agreeing to a deal with the Minnesota Twins.

Who you believin’?

If you strapped a lie detector machine on both sides, probably it would say that both sides are telling the truth – as they see it.

Either way, it was a cluster you-know-what of monumental proportions that may haunt the Astros for years to come.

Or one year if Correa opts out of his ridiculously player-friendly contract with the Minnesota Twins and comes back home to Houston. Correa will make $105.3 over three years, but he can skip out of town after each year.

Way back last year before team owners shut down baseball, the Astros offered their star shortstop $160 million dollars over five years. That’s $32 million per year, not exactly chump change. We’re assuming there were no player opt-outs after each season like the Twins’ contract.

That’s how the Astros operate. Owner Jim Crane doesn’t like to go beyond five years with a player contract. That’s because most long-term deals turn out disastrously for the team. As legendary Yankees manager Casey Stengel used to say, “you can look it up.” Crane is prudent and smart with his money. That’s how he built a team that’s appeared in three of the past five World Series.

Correa reportedly turned down the Astros deal thinking he would be offered $300 million-plus over 10 years by some desperate, money-loaded, pennant-hungry team, say the Yankees or Mets or who knows what team could be lurking, nobody saw the Twins coming.

From what is reported, and nobody really knows anything, the Baltimore Orioles were the only team dangling 300/10. If that was the offer, it was a non-starter. It was the Orioles.

Late last Friday night Saturday morning, the announcement came that Correa had agreed to terms with the Twins, with Correa allowed opt-out after each season. The baseball world was shocked, Astros fans went into deep mourning.

Click said, “It’s always hard to know, are you in it or are you not in these types of negotiations. One phone call can change anything. We were engaged throughout the process. Ultimately, he did choose to go to Minnesota. It’s a tough blow for all of us but that’s how these things go sometimes.”

True. Teams, not even the Dodgers and Yankees, get every player they want. But Click should have stopped at “That’s how these things go sometimes.”

But he added, “Nothing’s a deal-breaker.”

If nothing’s a deal-breaker, Correa would be wearing an Astros uniform in West Palm today. Obviously the deal-breaker was the number of years Correa wanted. Both sides stuck to their guns and now Correa’s a Twin.

On loan, hopefully.

Most baseball analysts believe that Correa will chill out one season in Minnesota before diving back into the free agent market. The Astros could be an interested party. Crane and Click, now vilified for letting Correa go, would be heroes if they could get the band back together.

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