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One AL West rival of the Houston Astros are expected to be “big players” for shortstops next winter.
With a couple of weeks remaining in spring training, Houston Astros fans are looking to their front office to see if they meet shortstop Carlos Correa’s contract extension timeline. Correa is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and told the Astros they have until Opening Day to work out a new extension. If not, he will enter the open market.
Correa joins a loaded shortstop class in free agency alongside Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez and Trevor Story. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, there are three teams expected to be “big players” for all of them, but one should concern the Astros. Those teams are the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and…the rival Texas Rangers.
Astros: Could Houston really see Carlos Correa join the Rangers?
The Rangers solidified their need of a shortstop this offseason, as they traded Elvis Andrus to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Khris Davis. This season, the Rangers will have Isiah Kiner-Falefa as their starting shortstop for the 2021 season. Regardless if Kiner-Falefa shows out this upcoming campaign, Correa and the other three shortstops on the market are borderline generational that you can not pass up on.
Correa is looking to cash in on what he feels he has earned this winter. The market was officially set this offseason when the San Diego Padres signed 22-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $340 million contract. While he won’t get the same amount of years on his contract, considering he is 26-years-old, Correa would look to get the same annual salary as Tatis.
This past regular-season, Correa slashed .264/.326/.383 while recording five home runs and 25 RBI. Correa stepped up when it mattered most — the postseason. In Houston’s run to Game 7 of the ALCS, the shortstop recorded a .362 batting average, a1.221 OPS, six home runs and 17 RBI.
The clock is officially ticking for the Astros. They can try to work out a deal with Correa prior to the start of the season or run the risk of watching him potentially sign with the Rangers if they are truly “big players” for a shortstop next winter.