Astros: Carlos Correa replacement hasn’t even made his MLB debut yet

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The Houston Astros’ real Carlos Correa replacement might still be in the minor leagues, assuming the new Scott Boras client does head elsewhere.

Correa’s contract demands are seemingly increasing on a day-to-day basis, with the Houston Astros still in the mix. Yet, Jim Crane’s top offer so far is for five years and $160 million.

With the MLB lockout raging on, there has been no update in their willingness to budge, namely on the number of years they’d offer their 27-year-old shortstop.

Correa wants a contract north of what Corey Seager signed with the Texas Rangers — 10 years and $325 million. To be fair, Correa is a better all-around player, and the same age.

The Astros’ hesitation is Correa’s age, and that he will not progress well as a defensive shortstop into his late-30’s. It’s a positional trait, in that remaining an elite Gold Glove caliber player at shortstop at that age isn’t common.

Astros: Who could replace Carlos Correa?

If Correa does sign elsewhere once the lockout ends, the Astros could find their replacement within the prospect pool. Houston has two shortstops within their top-5 ranked prospects, each of which could be ready for a big-league call-up in 2022.

Pedro Leon is the second-ranked prospect in the Astros system. He signed for $4 million last year with the expectation he’d move through Houston’s minor leagues quite quickly. Though he got some time in Triple-A, it didn’t exactly go smoothly with a less-than-optimal .457 OPS.

Jeremy Peña, who is one year Leon’s senior, could be the more immediate option. Peña also hasn’t made his MLB debut, and slashed .287/.346/.598 in 30 games in Triple-A after a wrist injury. He’s also an above-average defender at his position, which is beyond Leon’s progression at this point.

If Correa leaves, don’t be surprised if the Astros give these near MLB-ready prospects a chance to compete in Spring Training.

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