1. Carlos Correa
Face facts, Yankee fans. Carlos Correa was never atop the team’s board because the team is smart enough to know he has no plans to pivot, in the middle of his prime, to hostile territory.
Every time Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, or Hal Steinbrenner are asked about Correa fitting into the locker room, they say the right things. They echo the idea that all bygones are bygones. You know why? Because they’re legally not in a position to exclude any free agent before negotiations ever really get going.
Have you seen Aaron Judge get up on a podium and welcome Correa with open arms? Has Gerrit Cole spoken about his former teammate in detail? No. We’ve only gotten the legally-required platitudes from the front office.
Sure, the Yankees will theoretically nip around Correa’s heels. But if they’re nervous about blocking Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza with any sort of shortstop signing, and they’re getting skittish about giving Corey Seager eight or nine years, you’re telling me with a straight face that they’ll abandon all those concerns to give a sworn enemy $325 million and a decade of security?
AJ Hinch had a five-hour lunch meeting with Correa for a reason. Justin Verlander chose a slightly higher offer with the Astros out of nowhere for a reason. 2017 Astros will be Astros. Avowed cheaters protect avowed cheaters.
Would I accept Correa the Yankee? Absolutely! But think of the mental gymnastics necessary to actually bend the knee and pay him Francisco Lindor money to block a premium position for an entire era, and you’ll realize the Yankees are just window-shopping here.