The San Francisco Giants finally made their free-agent splash Tuesday night by reportedly signing Carlos Correa to the largest-ever contract for a shortstop in terms of total dollars.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Giants inked Correa to a 13-year, $350 million deal, giving them the big fish they were seeking after losing out on their pursuit of outfielder Aaron Judge to the New York Yankees.
Given their market size, the Giants had a fairly modest payroll before the Correa signing, with Spotrac listing it at $112.9 million. When adding in Correa's projected yearly salary of $26,923,077, San Francisco's payroll jumps up to $139,823,077.
The move also beefed up the Giants' offensive firepower significantly, giving them a projected lineup that could look like this:
- Mike Yastrzemski - CF
- Carlos Correa - SS
- Mitch Haniger - RF
- Joc Pederson - LF
- Brandon Crawford - DH
- J.D. Davis - 3B
- Wilmer Flores - 1B
- Thairo Estrada - 2B
- Joey Bart - C
While president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi likely still has some work to do, the acquisitions of Correa and Haniger in free agency should help the Giants improve on their 81-81 record from last season.
While San Francisco was only an average team that failed to reach the playoffs last season, it posted an MLB-best 107-55 record the previous season, beating out the rival Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League West.
The current team is far different from that 2021 squad, however, as catcher Buster Posey is retired, first baseman Brandon Belt and third baseman Evan Longoria are free agents, and starting pitcher Kevin Gausman is with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Also, veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford was the Giants' best offensive player that season, hitting .298 with 24 home runs and 90 RBI, and following the acquisition of Correa, it is possible he could be traded before the start of the 2023 campaign.
San Francisco has been busy this offseason with the signings of Correa, outfielder Mitch Haniger and starting pitchers Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea, but it can be argued that the team's overall improvement is negligible if Belt, Longoria and starting pitcher Carlos Rodón all leave in free agency.
Correa gives the Giants an established star at the shortstop position, though, and someone with plenty of winning experience.
In eight MLB seasons with the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, Correa is a two-time All-Star, one-time Gold Glove Award winner and one-time World Series winner. He has also taken part in the playoffs in six separate seasons.
Correa hit .291 with 22 home runs, 64 RBI and 70 runs scored in his only season with the Twins in 2022, and for his career, he is hitting .279 with 155 homers, 553 RBI and 508 runs in 888 games.
Signing Judge likely would have made a far bigger impact and given the Giants a true anchor for their lineup, but Correa was arguably the top position player available outside of Judge, and the 28-year-old veteran should be a key player for a long time to come.
The addition may not be enough to knock the Dodgers from their perch in the NL West, but the Giants do at least seem to be inching closer to playoff contention compared to where they were last season.