The Los Angeles Dodgers need a shortstop after losing Trea Turner in free agency to the Philadelphia Phillies, but Carlos Correa reportedly isn't a replacement option.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that one reason is the team's concern that the fanbase wouldn't welcome the move because Correa played on (and fiercely defended) the 2017 Houston Astros, who were caught orchestrating an illegal sign-stealing scheme after taking down the Dodgers in that year's World Series.
"The Dodgers are not pursuing shortstop Carlos Correa in part out of concern that a sizable portion of their fan base would not welcome the move. Correa was the most outspoken member of the 2017 Astros club that stole signs illegally during the postseason, and beat the Dodgers in a seven-game World Series."
Correa left Houston for the Minnesota Twins in free agency last offseason and hit .291 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI.
Rosenthal noted that's not the only reason L.A. may be reluctant to deal with Correa or any other big-name free agent, though, citing the uncertainty of how much back pay they will owe suspended starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, who signed a three-year, $102 million contract before the 2021 season.
"As the Dodgers wait to learn whether Major League Baseball will uphold Trevor Bauer’s two-year suspension for violating the league’s policy on sexual assault and domestic violence, club officials are uncertain how much back pay, if any, they will owe the pitcher," Rosenthal wrote.
Bauer is appealing that decision, and he will lose $60 million in salary if he loses. If he wins and gets his suspension overturned or cut down, then L.A. will have to pay.
"The Dodgers as a third-time luxury-tax offender would be assessed penalties on top of his salary," Rosenthal wrote. "As noted by the Los Angeles Times, the team’s total payout could exceed $100 million."
That's not an insignificant amount even for a team that had an MLB-high payroll that was north of $270 million last year.
Ultimately, Correa will get paid. Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with Philadelphia, and Correa could be in the neighborhood of that deal as well.
"It's going to take a seven-, eight- or nine-year deal for $265 to $300 million. Maybe more," Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reported on the Mackey & Judd radio show (h/t Joe Nelson of Bring Me The Sports).
Jim Bowden of The Athletic predicted Correa would sign a 10-year, $327 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.
He won't have a shortage of suitors with money to burn. The Twins reportedly want him back, per Rosenthal, and the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres could be in the mix. Those NL West teams reportedly offered Aaron Judge $360 million and $400 million contracts, respectively, before the American League MVP returned to the New York Yankees.
Correa played seven seasons in Houston before joining the Twins. His resume includes two All-Star Game appearances, the AL Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove in 2021.