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OTM Roundtable: Yea or nay on Carlos Correa?

Should the Red Sox target the biggest free agent when the lockout is lifted?

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World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Six Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

We are almost a week into March, and now a couple of weeks of spring training games have already officially been cancelled, with more likely to come. This has been a disaster of a week for MLB, and it doesn’t really seem like a resolution is imminent, though we’ll hedge that with the fact that these things can change quickly. And with that in mind, we should acknowledge that this lockout will end eventually. We think. And when that happens, there is going to be a player movement bonanza in which transactions come through in lightning speed.

To that end, the Red Sox figure to be one of the more aggressive clubs on the market as they still have a few holes to fit, most notably in the outfield and bullpen. There is also an argument to be made that their infield could use some work, and second base in particular. One name that has been popping up all offseason and seemingly has been gaining some steam of late despite the lockout has been Carlos Correa, who figures to be the top free agency when things open back up. Correa is obviously a great player, but whether or not the Red Sox choose to target him in earnest is a bit more of a complicated issue. So that was the topic for today’s roundtable: Should the Red Sox target Carlos Correa?

Brendan Campbell

I have no issue with the Red Sox targeting Carlos Correa, who would make the team better in 2022 and beyond. From a pure baseball standpoint, Correa would be an upgrade over Xander Bogaerts at shortstop. That said, the Red Sox would have quite the conundrum on their hands if they were to sign Correa to a mega deal. Financial issues aside, the Sox would then have to decide what to do with Bogaerts. At this point in his career, Bogaerts may have too much pride to move over to second base to accommodate Correa. On the other hand, Bogaerts is almost certainly going to opt out of his contract next winter and become a free agent, so he would have more value as a shortstop than a second baseman.

At that point, what would stop Bogaerts from requesting a trade so that he can play for a team that still views him as an everyday shortstop heading into what is effectively his walk year? It would be painful to see the Red Sox trade another face of the franchise-type like Bogaerts, but Correa would be your guy at shortstop moving forward. Regardless, once the lockout ends, it should be an interesting few months for super-agent Scott Boras, who represents both Bogaerts and Correa.

Bayleigh Von Schneider

I truly find it baffling that there are so many Red Sox fans that flat-out do not want Carlos Correa in a Red Sox uniform. I too love Xander Bogaerts, do not get me wrong, I want him in a Sox uniform his entire career, but we also cannot ignore the defense, and how he truly will not stick as a shortstop for the entirety of his career. Carlos Correa is a plus defender, and when healthy, yes, health has been an issue, but when healthy he helps any team out defensively and offensively. If Xander Bogaerts moves to second base, which he has talked about a willingness to do so, then a major defense issue is resolved. Correa will be a lot of money, but he’d truly be a wonderful addition to the present and the future of the Boston Red Sox organization. Let’s also not forget he has a wonderful relationship with Alex Cora. I believe we live in a world where both Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts are part of the 2022 Red Sox and beyond.

Mike Carlucci

Carlos Correa is a great player, but the Red Sox should stay away. First, the price tag is going to be huge. Correa was the top player in MLBTradeRumors’ free projections project with an estimated 10-year, $320 million dollar contract needed for his services. Second was Corey Seager projected for 10 years and $305 million. Seager eventually signed for 10/$325 million. With the weird offseason due to the lockout and the Texas Rangers looking to make a big splash we don’t know exactly what Correa will be paid but it’ll be a lot of money for a lot of years. And he’ll deserve it.

While I’d like to ignore the business of baseball, I know the Red Sox have a budget. And right now they have Xander Bogaerts who may be not quite as good as Correa but that might make him a little more affordable. Which if that then allows for Rafael Devers to be extended is a big win. If you tell me that no matter the new CBT the Red Sox will pay a penalty for a few years, by all means bring in Correa too. Add Kyle Schwarber. Find a pitcher. But we have a very good young star in Devers and a shortstop in Bogaerts who’s no slouch himself. This isn’t an acquisition worth rocking the boat and leading to a cost cutting move like the mess that happened with Mookie Betts.

Phil Neuffer

My answer to this question hinges entirely on what it means for Xander Bogaerts’ future. If signing Carlos Correa means the Red Sox are going to let Bogaerts walk next winter or not really try to sign him to an extension (and I expect it would), then absolutely not. Since 2015, Bogaerts has logged 31.4 fWAR, while Correa has produced 25.1. Granted, Bogaerts is a little older and Correa is the better defender, but I would rather have Bogaerts on my team rather than Correa. However, if one of the two (probably Bogaerts due to Correa’s superior defense) were actually willing to switch to second base, then I’d be all for it, again, as long as it didn’t jeopardize Bogaerts’ future with the Red Sox.

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Bob Osgood

I am not in favor of the Red Sox pursuing Carlos Correa in free agency, assuming that the cost is anywhere near Corey Seager’s 10-year, $325-million contract. While the talent is undoubtedly there to be a cornerstone player on any team, I don’t believe Correa is in that true top tier and is greatly boosted by his standout 2021. If Correa had entered free agency after the 2020 season, he would be coming off a 2017 to 2019 in which he played 109, 110, and 75 games, respectively, followed by a shortened 2020 season where he put up a .264/.326/.383 slash line with five homers and 25 RBI in 58 games.

Granted, these stat lines leave out the postseason where Correa has thrived, but he may have been looking at a contract closer to the 6-for-$140M that Javy Baez received this offseason or maybe taking a one-year “show me” deal like Marcus Semien did last offseason to rebuild his value. Instead, Correa put up a top-five MVP season in 2021 in a contract year and continued his strong effort in the playoffs. While the Xander Bogaerts situation is wildly complex, a Correa signing almost assures Bogaerts’ departure a year from now as even if he is willing to move to second base, Scott Boras will likely demand Bogaerts be paid as the shortstop that he has been nearly his entire career.

Between the injury history, inconsistency, and general drama that a Correa/Bogaerts dynamic could bring to the locker room, I would be out at the cost that it would likely take to bring Correa to town and would prefer to use the same money to extend Rafael Devers and, you know, just pay the ultra-consistent Bogaerts.

Matt Collins

In a vacuum, I think the answer here is that they obviously should. He is a great player, and contending teams should target great players. Perhaps there is an argument to be made that he should be avoided due to his affiliation with the sign-stealing Astros, but a team who employs Alex Cora as their manager can’t really use that argument. That said, there are two things I’d need to be sure of before I went all-in. One is how Xander Bogaerts thinks about it. Yes, he’ll have to change positions and probably sooner than later, but to me he is the kind of player for whom the goal should be to keep in the organization for his entire career. Getting maximum value doesn’t have to be the only goal all the time, and Bogaerts is an example of this. If this makes it more likely that he leaves in free agency, don’t do it. Additionally, they need to also be able to find suitable additions in the outfield and bullpen in addition to Correa. The reality is the Red Sox operate under a budget — whether or not it’s high enough is a different conversation — and those are bigger needs in my mind than the infield. But if you can check both of those boxes? Hell yeah. Go for it.