Detroit Tigers need to proceed with caution before signing Carlos Correa

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers, Carlos Correa
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The Detroit Tigers need to proceed with caution before handing out a lifetime contract to Carlos Correa.

If you’ve read this far, please hear me out.  The title readers will overreact and be quick to call me a hater and so on.  I like Correa; I think he’s an exceptional talent and would automatically be a middle of the lineup bat for the Tigers.  He’s also an excellent defender.

Correa has always produced a positive Wins Above Replacement (WAR) throughout his career.  According to FanGraphs, he provided the Astros with a career-high 5.8 WAR and 57.6 (RAR) Runs Above Replacement this past season.

When you look at his defensive metrics, Correa created an out on 56.1% of his ‘unlikely’ to be an out opportunities, 64.1% of his 50/50 ball chances, 80% of his likely out chances, and over 97% of his routine plays last season.  To me, he’s basically Jose Iglesias but with a threatening bat; that is a compliment.

Last season Correa belted 26 home runs plus drove in 92 while slashing .279/.366/.485 with an OPS of .850.

When you combine that offense with the type of defense he’s displayed, I can see why he’s projected to be a $300-plus million player over a 10-year pledge.  But that type of commitment comes with some concerns.

FanGraphs also uses a unique tool that converts a player’s WAR into dollars they should make in free agency.  For Correa’s stellar 2021 season, they’ve got it at $46.2 million; it’s the third time in his seven-year career he’s been projected by that calculator to be over $40-million.  So maybe $30 million per season isn’t all that bad?  I’ve still got my concerns.

Correa, 27-years old, is in the prime of his career.  The backend of a deal like this has the makings of Miguel Cabrera all over again.  Although I am a massive fan of Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers are certainly paying him for the player he used to be rather than the player he is today.

The difference to me between the two is simple.  At the time of Cabrera’s extension, he was the best offensive bat in the game, and the organization still had championship aspirations.

Correa is a fine player, but he’s nowhere near the same caliber hitter Cabrera was during Detroit’s most recent years as World Series contenders.

IF both Greene and Torkelson prove over the next couple of seasons to be premier MLB players (if signed) spending what feels like insane money on Correa, hopefully, pays off with a World Series championship.  No one will complain about the money or term down the road if the organization wins.

Suppose by some strange chance, neither of the teams’ top prospects pan out as expected. In that case, the organization has an abundance of money tied up on what will be an aging shortstop likely destined to be an average slugging third baseman, and we’re starting all over again.