Funny how this works, huh? Months ago, we couldn’t view Carlos Correa as less of an option for the New York Yankees in free agency after the 2021 season. Not only did we think the Houston Astros would come to their senses and extend him, but him? On the Yankees? After he was a member of this cheating Astros team? No way.
Well, yes, now there’s a way. In fact, it might be the only way.
Correa is the youngest option on the market. He and Corey Seager are neck-and-neck in regard to postseason experience/success. But out of everyone that will be available, Correa has the perfect combination of talent, cockiness and a penchant for delivering in big moments.
Nobody else that will be available possesses those three qualities, and one could argue nobody trumps him in any of them individually.
First and foremost, let’s be honest: the Yankees need a premier defender at the position. We just sat through 150+ games of awful play from Gleyber Torres.
Good news! Correa checks that box with flying colors. He was good for an insane 21 Defensive Runs Saved in 2021 alone — his best defensive campaign yet. He has 68 for his career.
Carlos Correa might be the only option at shortstop for the Yankees in free agency.
Let’s compare that with the other available options:
- Trevor Story: 9 DRS in 2021, 69 DRS for his career
- Corey Seager: 0 DRS in 2021, -5 DRS for his career
- Javier Baez: 3 DRS in 2021, 46 DRS for his career
- Marcus Semien: 1 DRS in 2021, 45 DRS for his career
- Andrelton Simmons: 14 DRS in 2021, 196 DRS for his career
Correa is essentially equal with Story and only trails Simmons, who is declining defensively, never had a bat, and hardly has postseason experience.
Let’s continue with the tangibles. Career slash lines in the regular season and postseason:
- Correa – .277/.356/.481 (752 games) vs .280/.350/.535 (71 games)
- Story – .272/.340/.523 (745 games) vs .318/.318/.545 (five games)
- Baez – .264/.307/.477 (852 games) vs .221/.250/.385 (36 games)
- Semien – .256/.324/.444 (1,020 games) vs .371/.450/.571 (nine games)
- Simmons – .265/.313/.369 (1,191 games) vs .250/.333/.313 (five games)
The only player who bests Correa here is Story in the regular season department … but if you dig deeper, you’ll see the Rockies shortstop’s numbers away from Coors Field are much worse (.303 average and .972 OPS vs .241 average and .752 OPS). We are NOT slandering Story for his success at home … we’re just pointing out that there’s a stark difference, whereas Correa’s numbers (.278 average and .847 OPS vs .275 average and .827 OPS) are nearly identical at home and on the road.
And finally, for the intangibles. Correa is outspoken. He brings energy. He lives for clutch moments. We’d venture to say Story does too, but his lack of postseason experience is a bit of an issue. As for Seager, he’s not outspoken, he hardly brings energy, but he’s the definition of clutch. Then again, his glove has been a major problem for the Dodgers this postseason. His defensive holes are becoming more and more glaring by the day.
You simply have to ask yourself this: Where would the Astros be without Correa? I guess we’ll find out next year! But seriously … would they have escaped their rebuild as swimmingly? Do they win a World Series? Do they shake off the fallout from the cheating scandal as seamlessly as they did? He handled so much of that burden and still managed to produce as one of the best shortstops in the league these last two seasons.
Forget what happened in 2017. The past is the past. The Yankees need to win. Correa is the clear X-factor that fulfills all the deficiencies this team is lacking. Hand him a check, get this done at the onset of free agency, and address the other needs as they come.