San Francisco Giants, Carlos Correa agree to 13-year, $350M deal

ByJeff Passan ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Top 5 things you didn't know about Carlos Correa
Top 5 things you didn't know about Carlos Correa

SAN FRANCISCO -- Shortstop Carlos Correa and the San Francisco Giants are in agreement on a 13-year, $350 million contract, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN.

The deal gives the Giants their franchise player in Correa, who turned down $160 million from Houston last year, got $35.1 million in his year in Minnesota and now gets the most money ever for an infielder.

It's the fourth-largest contract by total value in MLB history, trailing just Mike Trout's $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, Mookie Betts' $365 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Aaron Judge's $360 million with the New York Yankees. The 13 years matches the longest contract ever for a free agent, tying Bryce Harper's 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The free agent path of Correa, 28, was far less circuitous than last year, when he entered the market in hopes of landing a $300 million-plus deal but wound up signing a shorter-term contract with the Minnesota Twins that included an opt-out after the first season. This winter, Correa found a market that lavished $300 million on Trea Turner and $280 million on Xander Bogaerts far more to his liking and wound up with the second-biggest deal behind Aaron Judge's nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees.

In his one season with the Twins, Correa looked like his vintage self, hitting .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in 136 games. While he didn't match his Platinum Glove-winning 2021, Correa is regarded among the game's best defensive shortstops and posted his fourth season with five-plus Wins Above Replacement.

The Giants paid him like a superstar, as the combination of Correa's position, age and productivity -- regular season and postseason -- convinced them to make him among the highest-earning players in baseball.

Excellence was predestined for Correa after he went to the Houston Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He shot through the Astros organization and debuted at 20 years old in 2015, winning Rookie of the Year. By his second season, Correa was one of the best players in baseball and, in 2017, he helped the Astros win their first World Series title, hitting five home runs and driving in 14 runs in 18 postseason games.

The Astros reached the American League Championship Series in 2018 and the World Series in 2019, with Correa a foundational player for their success. But the revelation in November 2019 that Houston had used a sign-stealing scheme during their championship season sullied the title and landed especially hard on Correa, who was outspoken in his defense of the team.

Correa's excellence continued unabated. He was among the best players in the 2020 postseason and again played well in 2021, pushing his career postseason line to .272/.344/.505 with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs in 79 games. With shortstop prospect Jeremy Pena primed to reach the big leagues, though, Houston moved on from Correa, whose free agent market never materialized after an early dalliance with Detroit and led to him signing a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Twins, for which he was paid $35.1 million in 2022.

In Minnesota, Correa quickly became a clubhouse leader, and over his final 120 games, he hit .307/.381/.496 with 21 home runs. The Twins hoped he would return but recognized his market would be unlikely to break the same way it did following 2021.

Over his eight-year career, Correa has compiled nearly 40 WAR -- only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Manny Machado have more in the same stretch -- and a career line of .279/.357/.479 with 155 home runs and 553 RBIs in 888 games. His 12.6 defensive WAR rank fourth, behind Andrelton Simmons, Kevin Kiermaier and Arenado.

Just how long Correa stays at shortstop is a question multiple executives posited during his free agency. The Outs Above Average metric placed him in the bottom 20% of shortstops this season while Defensive Runs Saved pegged him as slightly above average. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Correa is among the game's biggest shortstops, where he has played all 881 of his career games in the field.

Regardless of where Correa's glove winds up, his bat will determine whether the megadeal is a success. And in the short-term, it will help determine whether Correa again reaches the postseason or, for the first time in his career, misses it in consecutive seasons.