The San Francisco Giants have landed the best shortstop on the free agent market. Carlos Correa and the Giants have agreed to a massive 13-year contract worth $350 million, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirms. The offseason has been filled with major shortstop signings, following Trea Turner to the Phillies and Xander Bogaerts to the Padres. Dansby Swanson remains on the market.
Correa, who turned 28 in September, spent 2022 with the Minnesota Twins on what amounted to a one-year contract worth $35.1 million with a two-year, $70.2 million insurance policy in case his performance cratered or he suffered a catastrophic injury. Neither happened and Correa opted out of his contract after the season, and cashed in huge this winter. His new deal with the Giants is the largest ever for a shortstop and the largest ever for a former No. 1 overall draft pick. Overall, Correa's $350 million pact is the fourth-largest deal for an MLB player, trailing only Mike Trout's $426.5 million extension with the Angels, Mookie Betts' $365 million extension with the Dodgers, and Aaron Judge's recent $360 million deal with the Yankees.
The longtime Houston Astros shortstop slashed .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs in 136 games around a finger contusion (hit by a pitch) and a stint on the COVID list. His defense, which has been historically splendid, took a hit in the eyes of the various stats, but remained above average overall. Correa has averaged 7.2 WAR per 162 games in his career. That's superstar production. With a total of 39.5 WAR through his age-27 campaign, Correa also might be on a Hall of Fame track.
Our R.J. Anderson ranked Correa the third-best free agent available this offseason behind only Aaron Judge and Jacob deGrom. Here's his write-up:
In the past, we've referenced Bill James' theory that it's better for a player's perception if they start hot rather than finish hot -- that way, James once reasoned, their statline looks better for longer. Correa may be evidence of the theory at work. He started slowly, homering just once in April and producing a depressed statline that lingered into the summertime, leading people to believe he was having a down year even as he picked up his play over the course of the summer. Check his Baseball-Reference page now that the leaves are falling and you'll notice that his OPS+ was higher in 2022 than 2021, a season good enough to earn him the top spot in our free-agent rankings last winter.
In San Francisco, Correa will presumably take over at shortstop and bump franchise stalwart Brandon Crawford to third base. Correa's bat will significantly improve a Giants offense that last season ranked seventh in runs scored and eighth in OPS.
The Correa deal is a sorely needed splash for Giants president of baseball operation Farhan Zaidi, who earlier this offseason missed out on Judge.