Why Carlos Correa’s opt-out decision should worry Yankees fans

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates after hitting a home run against the New York Yankees on September 8, 2022 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates after hitting a home run against the New York Yankees on September 8, 2022 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees have the opportunity to re-enter the Carlos Correa free agency sweepstakes this winter after passing on the ex-Astro last time around. Though it felt like a formality, Correa’s side leaked on Thursday that he was officially opting out of his contract to test the market this winter.

The Yankees, of course, still have a stopgap at the position in Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but have top prospects right behind him in the big-league-ready Oswald Peraza and top-10 name Anthony Volpe. If they weren’t involved the first time around — and also avoided the Trevor Story chase — they probably won’t hop into the second round of talks.

But maybe they should? Or, at least, if they have no intention of talking to Correa’s reps, they should know that there’s a good chance he lands within their division regardless.

According to FanSided MLB Insider Robert Murray, Correa’s most likely destinations this offseason are the rebuilding Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles.

Both teams were better the second half of 2021 than anyone expected. Both have vacancies (or top prospects who can move around). Only one has an Astros-flavored braintrust. Watch out for the O’s.

Will Carlos Correa join Yankees’ rival in free agency?

As Murray stated on Thursday’s podcast:

"The Cubs are not going to be the only team involved. The other team that I think could be a player here is the Baltimore Orioles. They have the young core that is really freakin’ good, and that’s headlined by Adley Rutschman, who is gonna be a superstar, if he’s not already. And he’s surrounded by a bunch of other really good young players, but they lack an experienced guy with the killer instinct. They have money to spend. Mike Elias, their GM, was the one who drafted Carlos Correa in Houston. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying, Correa makes a lot of sense for the Baltimore Orioles."

Correa. Rutschman. Gunnar Henderson. Colton Cowser. Heston Kjerstad. DL Hall. Dean Kremer. Kyle Bradish. Not bad-ish!

Though the Yankees will see their battles with each AL East opponent reduced from 19 games to 12 next season, thanks to the newly-balanced schedule, it seems clear they can no longer rely on the Orioles being a doormat to help fuel their pursuit of a division title.

Add in the potential that they might choose to shop at the Dior Store after years of saving their dough, and the Yankees had better hope Peraza and Volpe are both ready to pick up the slack immediately.