Could the Detroit Tigers still be in on Carlos Correa?

Oct 31, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Atlanta Braves in game five of the 2021 World Series at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Atlanta Braves in game five of the 2021 World Series at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Recent reports indicate the Detroit Tigers are still a suitor for star shortstop Carlos Correa

Everybody thought the Detroit Tigers got their shortstop when they came to an eleventh-hour agreement with free-agent Javier Baez. Heck, the Detroit Tigers themselves likely thought the same thing.

Recent reports indicate that the Detroit Tigers are still a suitor for perhaps the top player left on the market: Carlos Correa. Correa was the favorite to land with Detroit, thanks to his relationship with manager AJ Hinch, their glaring need, and the trajectory of the club. There have been varying reports of what the Detroit Tigers offered Correa, and shortly thereafter, Correa hired the Boras Corporation to represent him; an unprecedented move in the middle of free agency.

Have the Detroit Tigers and Carlos Correa moved on from each other? MLB Network’s Jon Heyman still lists the Detroit Tigers as a fit as recently as last week:

This would be yet another big investment in a single player, but the Detroit Tigers have preached about being strong up the middle and have done a nice job doing so with acquisitions Baez and Barnhart. Riley Greene, too, figures to be in that up-the-middle picture early in 2022, as well. Correa would solidify the double-play battery while giving the team options both in the present and in the future.

In the short term, Baez would almost certainly move to second base as he did in New York while he played alongside Francisco Lindor. Jonathan Schoop would take Niko Goodrum’s spot as a super-utility player (without the outfield capabilities, of course) and would allow the club to not need to rush Spencer Torkelson to the majors.

Long-term, the club could either stick with Correa at shortstop if Baez opts out after 2023, or they could slide Correa to third base to replace Jeimer Candelario, who is also a free agent after the 2023 season, and move Baez back to short. Correa is a big-bodied shortstop and some wonder if he’ll be able to play there for the entirety of his lengthy upcoming contract. Perhaps third base would suit him better, where his elite arm would surely play just fine.

The fit makes sense, but do the dollars? The Tigers have already committed significant financial resources to Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez this offseason and I can’t help but think the Tigers promised Baez the shortstop job as part of his deal. I wouldn’t blame Baez for being upset at having to move positions yet again for another player to play his preferred position.

I have to imagine the Tigers are more on the outside looking in at this stage of Correa’s free agency. I guess that the Tigers–if they were interested at all in re-engaging, would only be open to doing so if the price fell more into their range.

If there is an agent who is going to get his guy paid, it’s Scott Boras. The Tigers were wary about a $300 million investment before the Baez signing, so I can’t imagine them being more inclined to spend with a couple of needs still hanging out there, mainly starting pitching. Then factor in if Correa even wants to be in Detroit anyway and, well, it becomes a longer longshot. While the fit and general logic still exist, don’t seek out any Correa-to-Detroit news barring something jarring and unforeseen.

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