The San Francisco Giants would not be denied in their quest for a franchise-altering superstar addition this winter.
Spurned by slugger Aaron Judge, they instead reeled in Carlos Correa, a more versatile all-around player who agreed to a 13-year, $350 million deal Tuesday night – the most lucrative deal for a shortstop in major league history.
A baseball official with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed that Correa, 28, is in agreement with the Giants. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet finalized.
In adding Correa, the Giants nab their shortstop of the future and also a catalyst to fill the production, leadership and possibly box office void left with the retirement of Buster Posey after San Francisco’s 107-win season in 2021. They’d hoped that marquee attraction would be Judge, who they pursued heavily before the 62-home run man signed a $360 million, nine-year deal to remain with the Yankees.
Consider this a phenomenal consolation prize.
Correa will average $27 million per season, $13 million less than Judge, while manning the most important position in the field. ESPN first reported that Correa and the Giants were in agreement.
A free agent for the second winter in a row, Correa had opted out of a three-year, $105.3 million contract he signed with the Minnesota Twins during spring training. Correa hit .291 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI in his lone season with the team.
Correa earned $35.5 million with the Twins last season, which gives him a 14-year windfall of $385.5 million. His $350 million contract is the fourth-largest commitment in baseball history, behind Mike Trout and the Angels ($426.5 million), Mookie Betts and the Dodgers ($365 million) and Judge.
Not a bad call to turn down the five-year, $160 million contract the Astros offered him at the end of the 2021 season.
Correa won baseball’s Platinum Glove Award in 2021 as the best defensive player in the game and has averaged 28 home runs and 101 RBI per 162 games in his eight-year career, the first seven with the Houston Astros.
Selected first overall by the Astros in 2012, Correa was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2015 and played in three World Series with Houston, winning a championship in 2017 – now infamous due to club’s sign-stealing scandal.
Correa is one of the most prolific performers in postseason history with 18 home runs (seventh all-time) and 59 RBI (sixth) in 79 career games.
The Giants will welcome that production after a platoon-heavy offense sputtered as their core continued to age. Correa’s addition likely means that incumbent shortstop Brandon Crawford will slide to second or third base.
Also part of a star-studded class of free agent shortstops last winter, Correa didn’t get the deal he had hoped, largely due to the lockout that delayed the beginning of the season.
Correa was ensnared in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal prior to the 2020 season and admitted that “it was definitely an advantage’ – but has defended teammates and responded to comments from other players through the years. As a Giant, his biggest division rival is one of the most aggrieved parties in that scandal – the Dodgers, who lost the 2017 World Series to Houston in seven games.