Detroit Tigers miss out on Carlos Correa; fans should be irate

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Many Detroit Tigers fans, including myself, woke up irate this morning finding out that 27-year old star shortstop Carlos Correa signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins.

For nearly the entire offseason, the Detroit Tigers had been linked to the star shortstop, but the two sides failed to come to an agreement ahead of the lockout.  This was after Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch sat down with his former player for lunch but claimed it wasn’t about business; it was on a personal level.  Ya, ok.  We all know it was about business.

After failing to agree on a long-term deal with Correa, the Tigers shifted gears and signed another stellar player in Javier Baez.  The deal is a six-year $140 million deal, but with a player opt-out following the second season.  If Baez performs well, he will certainly be inclined to opt-out and seek an ever-larger long-term agreement.

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila made a similar deal with Opening Day starter Eduardo Rodriquez.  The left-hander signed a five-year deal on paper, but it also includes an opt-out following year two.  I initially thought this was built-in to allow the Tigers, who have become frugal since the passing of Mike Ilitch, to lock up their top four young prospects, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Spencer Torkelson, and Riley Greene, down the road.

The three-year $105.3 million deal Correa signed can be a one-year deal worth $35.1 million.  If he performs at an MVP level, he will certainly be looking to opt-out and enhance that salary.  For the Twins, this is a no-brainer.   There is no long-term commitment here; Correa is in the prime of his career, and although he’s struggled to remain healthy at times, the reward far outweighs the risk on a short-term deal.

Correa hit 26 home runs and drove in 92 last season in Houston while slashing .279/.366/.485 with an OPS of .850.

Detroit Tigers fans should be furious with Al Avila for not offering something similar to Carlos Correa.

Before the lockout, the Tigers reportedly offered a ten-year deal to Correa that guaranteed him $27.5 million per season with incentives that allowed for him to earn $37.5 million per season.  The deal also had multiple opt-outs built-in.  The base salary of $27.5 million came in significantly lower than the deal Corey Seager signed with Texas. Still, if Correa finished in the top-five for MVP voting, he’d be rewarded with an extra $10 million per season, paying him significantly more than Seager.

Ironically, shortly after rejecting the deal from Detroit, Correa elected to change agents.  Correa hired MLB’s super-agent, Scott Boras, right before the lockout.

The thing that irritates me the most about this deal Correa signed in Minnesota isn’t the fact that the Tigers will see Correa upwards of 20 times per season; it’s that Detroit could have matched this offer and remained well below the luxury tax threshold.

The fact that this is a three-year deal, I would not have complained if the Tigers gave Correa $40 million per season with the two opt-outs.

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It’s a short-term deal, and Detroit could have bolstered their lineup by inserting Correa at short and moving Baez to second base but missed out on a franchise-altering opportunity.  Also, let’s not forget Miguel Cabrera’s lucrative deal is set to come off the books following the 2023 season.