It was reported that Carlos Correa rejected the Houston Astros’ latest contract offer and looks like his days in Houston are done. Are the Detroit Tigers next?
Depending on your outlook, Detroit Tigers fans got some good news yesterday as Carlos Correa said this season is his last one in a Houston Astros uniform.
"“My last year with the Astros, hopefully, we can win another championship,” Correa says. “I can leave this great organization with two of them.”"
Correa is hitting his stride
Everyone knows the connection between Carlos Correa and Tigers manager AJ Hinch. Hinch has overachieved with this roster. He also has been getting negative production from the rotation of shortstops throughout the season from a defensive standpoint.
The Tigers are ranked 28th in Defensive Runs Saved according to FanGraphs among shortstops with a -10. The Astros are ranked fourth overall with 13 and Correa alone has a DRS of 14. He also has cut his strikeout rate and upped his walk rate this season as now for the first time in his career, he has a walk rate in double dights at 13.% The K rate, which according to FanGraphs “ZiPS” projection, had him around 20.7$, he has dropped it to a season-low with at least 200 plate appearances, 18.3%.
A few weeks back, I wrote a piece on other ideas for long-term shortstops outside of Correa because they may not be to afford him in the off-season and the possible uncertainly that the owners and players can agree on a collective bargaining agreement. They may have to be creative.
But if you are a poker player, there are two tells here that the Tigers may just stan pat and not chase Correa after all, even with the Hinch connection.
Lynn Henning and the Detroit Tigers are prepping us
Henning is an outstanding human being and does his job of writing very well. When he wrote a story back on August 10th, about the shortstop market and throwing money at the problem won’t make the situation any better, fans were not exactly happy, saying Henning is just “carrying water for the Tigers”.
To a degree, he is correct. The Tigers’ best shortstops in the last twenty years were acquired by trade. Carlos Guillen and Jhonny Peralta come to mind. Those two trades by Dave Dombrowski were among the two best not only of his tenure but let’s not kid ourselves, among the top 10 in team history. He addressed a glaring need without giving up too much.
The Ryan Kreidler effect
Ryan Kreidler is one of the better success stories for the Tigers farm system in terms of production from the later rounds of the draft, which have churned out very little in the last decade when it comes to infield regulars.
He has a 16.7%/16.7% BB%/K% rate in eight games in Toledo so far with a wRC + of 257. On the season, his split is .270/.342/.453 with an OPS of .795 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI.
The narrative for Detroit Tigers fans to get excited to have a homegrown shortstop is set. (See below) He has come out of nowhere since his short season at Low-A Connectuit in 2019. Myself, Chris Brown and Jacob Boes, who was quoted in a recent piece by Henning about Kreidler, are impressed with his glove and his power at the plate.
But don’t ignore the facts about the upcoming free-agent market.
Carlos Correa will be turning 27 in September and is now entering the prime of his career. Correa with this young core of players on the Tigers would be an ideal fit, considering that the White Sox are amping up for a long run in the AL Central. Cleveland will always be there with how they develop talent and the Twins took a step back and the Royals have Bobby Witt Jr on the horizon.
The Tigers need to explore all opinions at shortstop before settling in on Ryan Kreidler or whoever they get in the off-season. They have money to spend on a shortstop and also need to address a few other needs on this team such as the starting rotation and first base.
Fans should be upset if they do not make a max effort to go after Carlos Correa. Every fan who says “who needs that bum Correa, he is a cheater!” has certainly perhaps not minded the job AJ Hinch has done this season.
There is nothing wrong with having more than one choice for a shortstop. Before you say “give the young guys a shot” before Ian Kinsler arrived in 2014, the Tigers rolled out Will Rhymes in 2011 and Scott Sizemore in 2010, fresh from the farm system. To be fair, Rhymes in part-time duty in 2010 did bat .304/.350/.414 in 213 plate appearances but never could stick as a regular.
Before anointing Ryan Kreidler the next Tigers shortstop of the future, it is perfectly fine to have more than one choice. Whether it is Correa or not, as a Tigers fan, just do not settle for the status quo.