If you were hoping to get Carlos Correa on a long-term, cost-controlled contract for the Houston Astros, don’t count on it.
According to Correa’s agent, that’s not in the plans.
“Carlos is never going to do an (early) multiyear contract,” agent Greg Genske told FanRag Sports Network.
Correa, 22, is two years away from arbitration, and five years away from free agency. Whether or not he plans to stay with the Astros, who made him the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 MLB Draft, he could command as much as $40 million per season when he finally puts pen to paper.
Last season, Zack Greinke, Miguel Cabrera and David Price each signed long-term deals with an average annual value over $30 million. Bryce Harper, who will hit free agency next winter, reportedly wants 10 years, $400 million. There’s no reason he shouldn’t, or won’t, get it.
Where does that leave the Astros?
For the short-term, right where they are. Correa is earning $535,000 this season, the second straight year he’s played for the major-league minimum, and their core — Correa, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and George Springer — is locked up until after 2019.
But looking at the bigger picture, it might not be the worst idea for owner Jim Crane to start stashing some cash, to make sure he can keep as much of this nucleus together as he and GM Jeff Luhnow want to.
According to Forbes, the Astros made $76 million in operating income last season, the 5th most in MLB, in large part thanks to a mere $124 million payroll, which ranked 17th.
I’ve said this: this is Houston. Crane doesn’t get to be cheap. Not if he wants to make it through a single day without getting excoriated on sports talk radio and social media.
But at the same time, let the man spend his money smart. Even if it means that for the next few years, he’s not going “full free agent,” and splurging on overpriced starting pitchers and hitters.
Because in the end, their first, second and third priority needs to be keeping Correa and Altuve in an Astros uniform.
Matt hosts Saturdays from 1-4 pm on SportsRadio 610. You can, and totally should, follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow.