HomeSportsHow Carlos Correa, San Francisco Giants each got exactly what they wanted

How Carlos Correa, San Francisco Giants each got exactly what they wanted

The San Francisco Giants agreed late Tuesday on a historic contract with superstar shortstop Carlos Correa. The deal is worth $350 million, which doubles the previous franchise record. It extends 13 years, which exceeds by a full decade the longest deals handed out by Farhan Zaidi during his first 49 months in charge of the organization.

Reportedly, the contract contains no opt-out clauses and a full no-trade clause. This is a marriage only seen with a select few in this sport. Fernando Tatís Jr. and Julio Rodríguez recently signed 14- and 13-year contracts, respectively, but Tatís was 22 when he signed his, and Rodríguez was 21.

Correa is 28. By the time this deal is done, he’ll be nearly as old as Barry Bonds was during his final season in San Francisco. But on an average-annual-value basis, this deal doesn’t look nearly as ridiculous. Correa will make just shy of $27 million per season, about $1.5 million more than fellow 2022 free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts will earn over a similar span, and slightly less than Trea Turner, a member of the same class.

Bogaerts and Turner have their fans across the industry, but Correa has more. In general, he is considered to have more star potential. By Baseball-Reference’s calculations, he has registered three seasons more valuable than Bogaerts’ best year, and four seasons more valuable than Turner’s best. 

And he supplies his value in a balanced manner. He has never hit more than 26 homers in a season, but also never hit fewer than 15 in his seven non-2020 seasons. Again excepting 2020, his floor has been as a roughly league-average hitter, which, with his defense, would still make him a competent player worth three-plus wins and, according to modern valuations, about $27 million per season.

There are risks, of course. Here are some of them: Correa has been hurt a fair amount. Not counting 2020, he has missed 25 or more games in four of the last five seasons, and 50 or more games in three of them. According to advanced metrics and some scouts, his defense declined a year ago. He certainly will not play shortstop for the entire contract, and he may not even man the position for half of it. 

Further, he was deeply involved in the cheating scandal that helped the Astros win their 2017 World Series. But he, more than most of his then-teammates, has owned the mistakes he made, and Correa certainly earned louder boos in places other than San Francisco. (Think this move will make Dodgers fans like him more?)

Despite the Giants’ surprising 2021 success, Zaidi has received criticism in recent months for his passivity. Fans couldn’t believe a big-market team’s longest contracts were doled out to Anthony DeSclafani and Tommy La Stella. But Zaidi, it’s now clear, was biding his time in search of a superstar. He pursued one in Aaron Judge, earlier this month, and came up either second or third, with an offer that exceeded the money committed to Correa.

Now, he got his guy. Tuesday featured a late-breaking report from The Athletic that the Mets were also interested in Correa, luxury tax be damned. That was believed to be in addition to the Twins, his 2022 employer, the Giants, and possibly the Cubs, who’d been on the periphery of his pursuit. 

But once Judge re-signed with the Yankees, the Giants made the most sense for Correa, who was looking for a long-term home after delaying his free agency one season to sign with Minnesota on a short-term deal in March. No one with as much money to spend was more desperate for a star. 

In 2022, the Giants were an even .500, a steep step back from their charmed 107-win campaign in 2021. They are not losing a lot from this year’s team: chiefly ace Carlos Rodón, who now looks likely to sign elsewhere. But in adding the talented outfielder Mitch Haniger, two depth starting pitchers (Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea), and now Correa, they’ve at least pushed themselves into the realm of a 90-win team.

It’s no guarantee. Like Correa, Haniger has a history of injuries. But these Giants are at least interesting again. 

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Pedro Moura is the national baseball writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the Dodgers for The Athletic, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and L.A. Times, and his alma mater, USC, for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the author of “How to Beat a Broken Game.” Follow him on Twitter at @pedromoura.

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