Dec 2, 2021, 4:28 pm
For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, Major League Baseball has entered into a lockout in which team officials and players cannot communicate with each other until both sides are “satisfied” and have come to an agreement on labor negotiations.
Before December 1st, MLB free agents were being signed left and right with teams like the Rangers spending over half a billion dollars on players that include Kole Calhoun, Jon Grey, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.
Other teams that opened their wallets this offseason were the Mariners, Mets and Tigers.
Baseball free agency came to a screeching halt once the December 1st MLB CBA ended. As of right now, players can't sign with any team until the lockout has concluded.
Now that Major League Baseball has entered this work stoppage, the question on everyone’s mind is what does this mean for the sport going forward?
The short answer is no one knows. This process will take some time and most owners have a wait and see approach in regard to this stoppage. Labor negations can be a long, meticulous process that could drag out for weeks, if not months.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seemed optimistic that a deal should get done between both the owners and the MLB Player’s Association sometime before the 2022 regular season starts.
"We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season," Manfred wrote in a letter to fans. "We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the players' association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive."
That being said, it may be some time before any deal is made between either side, thus leaving certain free agents in a temporary limbo like Carlos Correa.
The 27-year-old shortstop looked to be the most coveted player available this offseason and would earn a major payday. Just like his fellow shortstops, Correa was looking to earn a deal similar to that of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Francisco Lindor. All of whom signed deals or extension’s of at least 10-year $300 million dollars or higher.
The aforementioned Seager signed a 10-year deal worth $325 million with the Texas Rangers two days before the current CBA ended. Correa was looking to earn a deal similar to this, and the Rangers were one of the team’s that looked to obtain the All-Star shortstop.
Another club that had been linked to Correa was the Tigers, but they just signed free agent short stop Javier Baez to a six-year $140 million contract.
With both Texas and Detroit out of the Correa sweepstakes presumably, where would the 27-year-old land?
We won’t know for some time due to the ongoing lockout negotiations, but as soon as there’s an agreement, Correa will sign somewhere and get his money.
According to Bleacher Report, the Gold Glove winning shortstop has drawn interest from the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
All of these clubs are big market teams who are not afraid to spend large sums of money in free agency.
As much as Astros fans would hate to see their beloved shortstop don Yankee pinstripes or wear Dodgers Blue, it seems to be more of a reality Correa won’t be wearing an Astros uniform next season.
Is it possible for Houston to keep Carlos Correa?
Sure, if James Click and the Astros’ front office do something they have never done before and give him an extension of more than $300 million.
The largest contract Houston has ever given out was a 5-year $151 million extension to Jose Altuve.
If they wish to keep Correa, the Astros would have to give him at least a deal similar to what Seager just received in Texas, therefore doubling their largest contract ever given out.
It is not out of the realm of possibilities to believe Houston could accomplish this feat, but it seems unlikely.
A lockout might prolong Correa’s free agency, but once clubs are able to sign again, the All-Star shortstop could sign quicker than we think.