The big move has finally arrived. Late on Tuesday night, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the San Francisco Giants finally signed their big fish, landing shortstop Carlos Correa on a 13-year, $350 million deal.
BREAKING: Shortstop Carlos Correa and the San Francisco Giants are in agreement on a 13-year, $350 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 14, 2022
Correa may not be as big of a name as Judge, but you can absolutely make the claim that it’s a better offseason signing.
A right-handed hitter, Correa is coming off his only season with the Minnesota Twins, following many years with the Houston Astros, who took him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. He hit .291/.366/.467 a season ago, and has been worth 10.6 fWAR over the last two seasons, while collecting a Gold Glove along the way. Dodgers fans also despise him, so that’s a lot of fun.
The Giants were surely drawn to Correa’s age, as he only turned 28 in September, making him on the young side for a free agent — Judge, for instance, will turn 31 in April, while Turner will turn 30 in June. Unlike Judge and the other three marquee shortstops in free agency — Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson — Correa did not have the qualifying offer attached to him, meaning the Giants don’t lose any draft picks with the signing.
Per Mark Feinsand, the deal does not include any opt-outs, but it does include a full no-trade clause.
Correa has established himself as a strong clubhouse leader, and an outstanding bat at a premium position. Among qualified hitters, he was 18th in the Majors last year in wRC+, and first among shortstops. His 140 wRC+ was a good bit ahead of his fellow free agent shortstops: Bogaerts was 134, Turner was 128, and Swanson was 116.
He’s also widely considered one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, and many believe that he will age well defensively. The Giants, of course, have a strong defensive shortstop in Brandon Crawford, but Crawford is in the final year of his contract. It’s been reported by multiple Giants beat reporters that Crawford would move to third base — where he’ll likely platoon with a right-handed hitter like J.D. Davis or David Villar — if the Giants were to land Correa. And now they have.
Correa also has some history with the Giants brain trust, as new Giants GM Pete Putila was heavily involved in the Astros player development department during Correa’s Houston career.
The Giants are suddenly significantly better and, perhaps just as or more importantly, significantly more watchable. This is a serious, serious weapon.
It’s the first big contract doled out since Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations, and a sign that the Giants aren’t allergic to making big moves ... just picky with them.
If you’re worried about the years of the contract, just remember that it suppresses the annual amount that the Giants are paying, which means they can spend more money elsewhere. Correa will get paid $26.9 million per year, which is significantly less than Judge ($40 million), a little less than Turner ($27.3 million), and not too much more than Bogaerts ($25.5 million). And the Giants are, in theory, getting more good years from Correa since he’s younger than all three.
Welcome to the Bay, Carlos. Let’s freaking go.