Best Potential Packages for Carlos Correa After Trade Rumors Emerge
Trade rumors have swirled around Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant and David Price for a while, but the recent addition of Carlos Correa is surprising.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Houston Astros have considered dealing their young shortstop. While the report notes a trade is not imminent, the impending "payroll crunch" means the Astros have a tough decision to make.
Correa is a terrific player, though his trade value is complicated.
At his best, he's an All-Star contributor who hits for a decent average with good power. However, he's played more than 110 games in only one of his five seasons with the Astros. Correa made a career-low 75 appearances last season.
With an expected arbitration salary of $7.4 million, per MLB Trade Rumors, Correa is certainly worth the risk. He's a sell-low asset for Houston right now, but another season of team control would help the Astros in any trade conversations.
While every MLB team should be interested in a player of Correa's caliber, a handful of clubs stand out as ideal landing spots.
Trade offer: Correa and OF Josh Reddick for OF Jesse Winker, RHP Tony Santillan, 3B Jonathan India and OF Michael Siani
After a failed pursuit of Didi Gregorius, the Cincinnati Reds are without a star shortstop. They have Eugenio Suarez—who clubbed 49 homers in 2019—manning the hot corner and recently signed Mike Moustakas to play second base.
Correa will be expensive, but he would be a worthy addition if the organization is committed to an aggressive approach.
Considering the high-level prospects they'd be sending over, the Reds could push back because of Reddick's $13 million salary, per Roster Resource. Still, he'd be good depth alongside Aristides Aquino and Nick Senzel.
The Astros should want a Major League outfielder along with a top pitcher and infielder. Winker is a cheap option to replace Reddick, while Santillan is the Cincinnati arm closest to the majors. India and Siani are both plus defenders, while India is the superior hitter.
Trade conversations could fall apart if Houston desires a second pitcher, though. The Reds are thin on second- and third-tier arms behind Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Santillan.
Los Angeles Angels
Trade offer: Correa for IF Tommy La Stella, LHP Jose Suarez, OF Brandon Marsh and RHP Jose Soriano
An intradivision trade for Correa would not be easy to complete. The Los Angeles Angels are also short on elite pitching talent to send back.
But after whiffing on Gerrit Cole in free agency, will the Angels feel compelled to maneuver a big deal?
If so, they had better be ready to pay.
La Stella earned an All-Star nod in 2019 before an unfortunate leg injury effectively ended his season. He'd be the immediate replacement for Correa in the lineup, likely taking over at third while Alex Bregman shifts to shortstop full-time.
Suarez had a forgettable 2019, but performance and injury problems in the Angels' rotation probably pushed the 21-year-old to the majors too quickly. Meanwhile, Marsh and Soriano are two of Los Angeles' top four prospects, according to B/R's Joel Reuter.
Yes, this is a lot to give up. Houston can demand more because it would see Correa nearly 20 times each season. The discussion is worthwhile, though, if the Angels show any signs of desperation.
Update: The Angels have signed Anthony Rendon.
New York Mets
Trade offer: Correa for SS Andres Gimenez, OF Brandon Nimmo, RHP Matthew Allen, LHP David Peterson
Houston already completed a trade with the New York Mets, shipping outfielder Jake Marisnick for a pair of prospects. That was just the appetizer to a blockbuster, right?
The Mets may want to keep Amed Rosario, yet general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has consistently showed—right or wrong—that he's unafraid of a big move. Within the last year, he has completed trades for Robinson Cano and Marcus Stroman.
Should Rosario not be an option, Gimenez is a terrific defender with outstanding speed who played at Double-A in 2019.
Nimmo is the wild card considering his unimpressive 2019 campaign. But after slugging .483 two seasons ago, he could be a decent hitter while providing a defensive option at every outfield spot.
While Allan won't be MLB-ready for a few seasons, Peterson, a 24-year-old southpaw, could be an option as soon as 2020.
Trade offer: Correa for SS Dansby Swanson, RHP Kyle Wright, RHP Touki Toussaint and LHP Thomas Burrows
In the near future, the Atlanta Braves either will have re-signed Josh Donaldson or will be looking at a glaring hole on the roster.
If it's the latter, they should consider a run at Correa.
Perhaps the Astros actually prefer the power-hitting Austin Riley, but Dansby Swanson is a cheaper replacement for Correa at shortstop. He has improved dramatically as a defender and was having a strong year at the plate before a heel injury halted his progress.
Swanson is a good player, but this trade's primary appeal is pitching.
Atlanta likely wants to keep Ian Anderson, so any other prospect should be on the board for Houston. Wright and Toussaint haven't performed well in previous MLB stints, but they're no older than 24 and have plenty of upside. Burrows reached Triple-A last season and looks like a solid left-handed relief option.
Orchestrating a trade that allows the Braves to keep Anderson and outfielders Christian Pache and Drew Waters seems generous, but the depth of pitching should be enticing for Houston.
Tampa Bay Rays
Trade offer: Correa for SS Willy Adames, IF Joey Wendle, LHP Matthew Liberatore and RHP Joe Ryan
Whether the Rays would re-sign Correa after 2021 is a good question, but they're certainly in a good position to acquire him.
Similar to New York, Tampa might want to move forward with an inexpensive Adames. He strikes out a lot and is still improving in the field, but he posted a 4.2 WAR last season. Wendle would be a versatile contributor off the bench.
Liberatore, a first-round pick in 2018, is the main appeal. The southpaw will likely be in Double-A next season but has excelled at the lower levels of the minors so far.
Ryan, meanwhile, just finished a campaign in which he struck out 183 batters and walked 27 over 123.2 innings. He also won't provide immediate help, but the future reward is appealing.