The New York Yankees bucked tradition the past two offseasons and waited for Anthony Volpe's arrival rather than sign an "in-his-prime" superstar (and former enemy) in Carlos Correa to man the shortstop position. They also passed on Corey Seager, but ... we're not talking about him.
The New York Mets? In an attempt to establish a new tradition of spending, they snuck up in the middle of the night and made Correa their cornerstone third baseman in late December of 2022 ... until they didn't.
The Mets (and San Francisco Giants) forcibly passed on adding Correa while watching their medical reviews (both done by the same dude!) dissolve. The Yankees? They just sat and waited while the same fans who've crowed for decades about the team not developing homegrown talent started screaming at the same volume admonishing them for sitting on their hands in free agency.
Through early May -- too soon to be taking a victory lap, the right time to be examining the situation -- it seems the Yanks might've known what they were doing when they let Volpe take his lumps early. Freshly 22, the shortstop has shown leadership qualities, blooming hard-hit numbers, and a wise defensive plan of attack to hide his middling arm strength.
Correa? Outside of a few clutch doubles (one against the Yankees, of course), he's OPSing .684 (after a hot weekend) and hitting just over .200 at .205. It cost Minnesota $33 million this season (and for the next five seasons) to land a superstar. It's costing the Yankees the league minimum to obtain the same production from a high-ceiling rookie.
And don't even get us started on the Mets, who've been the most disappointing team in MLB. Imagine if they were also paying Correa a king's ransom (an additional $115 million above Minnesota's total price) to block Brett Baty, one of their rare bright spots?
Yankees choose right with Anthony Volpe over Carlos Correa?
It's true that Volpe may never match Correa's Houston heights, when the shortstop personified clutch and pointed to his watch whenever it was time to break a rival's heart in October.
But whichever team ended up getting Correa to sign on the dotted line this winter wasn't paying for those memories. They were paying for future performance. Correa's age hinted that he might be able to sustain those characteristics through his prime, but Correa's physicals hinted at the exact opposite reality.
We'll never begrudge the Twins for shelling out to maintain continuity in the locker room and retain the rare superstar they were able to import. But so far, it's looking like the Yankees had good reason to stay out of that pool, despite Correa's offseason begging for them to reconsider.
Oh, and the Giants! The Giants!! There are plenty of problems by the bay, but ex-Yankee Thairo Estrada isn't one of them. Did ... everybody win this one?
As Volpe trends upwards while Correa looks to find his footing, it's easy to give a rare hat tip to Brian Cashman's patience while acknowledging the reality that, yes, a 28-year-old Correa will probably finish with superior numbers to a 22-year-old Volpe in Minnesota this season.
So far, though, not so good, and what's under the hood is advantage Volpe, too (which is crazy, given the way he started the year).
Clamor all you want for the Yankees' payroll to bloat, but patience seems like the correct virtue here while Minnesota tries to solve their new mystery.