AN OFFER HE CAN'T REFUSE?

How Houston Astros epic Godfather moment now sets the stage for a “New York” finale

How Houston Astros epic Godfather moment now sets the stage for a “New York” finale
Jeremy Pena looks like he’s built for the long haul. Composite image by Josh Jordan

Security Exchange Commission Rule 156 says “past performance is not indicative of future results” - a lesson many of us have learned the hard way - but 12 games into the 2022 baseball season, it looks like Astros rookie Jeremy Pena is outplaying departed shortstop Carlos Correa.

Carlos Correa, you remember him, right? He’s hitting a puny .190 with one lonely home run and two RBI for the Minnesota Twins who have settled expectedly into last place in the AL Central with a dismal 4-8 mark.

From the weather desk: the Twins home opener was postponed because the forecast called for an afternoon high of 40 degrees with rain and snow and winds gusting to 35 mph. Baby, it’s cold outside.

Meanwhile in controlled atmospheric conditions at Minute Maid Park, Pena is hitting .308 with two bombs and four RBI for the Astros who are keeping their heads above water at 6-6.

A dozen games is hardly a valid sample, but Astros fans seem plenty happy with Pena and, how’s that song go, they ain’t missing Correa at all.

Since Correa’s three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins allows him to leave after this season … what if Correa tells his agent Scott Boras, “I think I’ve made a big mistake. I want to go home.” Boras gets on the phone and calls Astros owner Jim Crane. Let’s imagine how that call goes.

Boras: “Jim, baby, long time, no talk. Anyhoo, just between us, Carlos wants back with the Astros. If I remember, you offered him $160 million over five years. What do you say, ol’ buddy ol’ pal?

That’s when Crane goes all Godfather on Boras. He deliciously repeats the words that Michael Corleone told corrupt Sen. Patrick Geary when the senator tried to extort millions in exchange for approving a casino license.

Crane: “Scott, You can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this … nothing.

Houston fans have taken to Pena in a big, big way. An Astros official told me, “Jeremy is everything you want in a young player. He’s courteous and friendly and he’s willing to do everything we ask of him. Everybody here loves him.”

No one should think that Correa will end up hitting sub-.200. And it’s likely that Pena will shrink from his current .308 mark. But no matter how you crunch the numbers, Pena is three years younger than Correa. More important, Pena is under Astros control for several more years.

And maybe most important, Pena is making $700,000 this season, which is 45 times less than the one that got away. The savings will allow the Astros to make roster moves down the road.

Pena looks like he’s built for the long haul. Correa broke down several times during his seven years in Houston. In 2019, when Correa was 24 (Pena’s age now) he missed more than half the season, including a 60-day stint on the injured list for a rib injury suffered during a massage at home.

Last year when the Astros wanted Correa to settle down in Houston, Correa wanted to play the field and flirt with other teams. Next year, when it’s possible that Correa will want to return to the Astros, sorry, we’ve fallen for someone else.

Remember what Pam said in The Office when it appeared that Jim would accept a job in New York and they missed their chance at everlasting sitcom love.

Pam said, “If he never comes back again, it’s OK, we’re friends. And I’m sure we’ll stay friends. We never got the timing right. You know, I shot him down and then he did the same to me. You know what? It’s OK. I’m totally fine.”

Except in The Office, Jim turned down the job, came back to Scranton, and wound up marrying Pam. That’s how TV works. In real life, unless Pena has a career-ending injury or the Earth spins off its axis, come next year it will be Correa taking that job in New York.

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Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every week on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.

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