What will you be doing in 13 years?
There’s no guarantee Carlos Correa will still be playing for the San Francisco Giants, who reportedly agreed to a record-breaking contract on Tuesday night, but at least Correa knows he’ll still be getting paid in 2036.
The deal is for 13 years (matching the longest free agent contract ever) and $350 million for ESPN. Correa, who already has eight years of service in the big leagues, is still only 28 years old. Signing San Francisco gives the Giants their franchise player for the next generation and serves as a very solid consolation prize after losing Aaron Judge in the lottery.
The two-time All-Star, one-time World Series champion and former Rookie of the Year is also getting the mega deal he’s long coveted. Correa spent a year off with the Minnesota Twins in 2022, agreeing to a three-year, $105.3 million contract that included an opt-out after the first year. He predictably exercised that option when the season ended and hit the open market, where he and agent Scott Boras successfully brought him to a $350 million club.
Correa’s 13-year contract ties Bryce Harper’s for the longest ever. Like Harper, Correa has a full no-trade clause and no waivers, according to sources. That’s the most money ever paid to a shortstop, surpassing Francisco Lindor’s $341 million salary and Fernando Tatis Jr.’s $340 million. There are only three contracts in Major League Baseball history that have paid a player more: Mike Trout’s $426.5 from the Angels, Mookie Betts’ $365 from the Dodgers and the $360 Judge took just to stay with the Yankees.
While the money is astronomical and it’s hard to imagine the 38-year-old Correa still working a decade from now, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best players around. Correa, the first pick of the Astros in the 2012 draft, spent the first seven years of his career in Houston. In addition to bringing home the 2015 Rookie of the Year, and two years later, the franchise’s first championship, Correa also played in two other World Series and collected Gold and Platinum Gloves for MVP.
His career numbers show a .279/.357/.479 (.836 OPS) slash line and a 130 wRC+. He has hit 20 or more home runs in six of his seven full career seasons. In the postseason, he posted a .272/.344/.505 (.849 OPS) line in 79 games. Excluding the 2020 season, he has also been worth 3.0 or more wins above replacement every year. According to FanGraphs’ version of WAR, only 15 position players have been better than Correa since he entered the league. Lindor, Xander Bogaerts and Tria Turner, all players who will now also make more than $25 million per season, are the only players ahead of him on that list. Correa’s 130 wRC+ ranks second among Tatis Jr., with Andrelton Simmons the only shortstop responsible for more Defensive Runs.
While defense has certainly been one of Correa’s lifelong calling cards, there is a question of how long he can stay in the demanding position. Correa is big for an average player at 6-4 and 220 pounds, and he’s already logged more than 7,600 innings at shortstop. Many speculated he could cede the job to Giants legend Brandon Crawford at least through 2023, the final year of the 35-year-old Crawford’s contract. Correa has played some third base before, though never really in an MLB setting. In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, he slid to the hot corner in Puerto Rico so Lindor could play shortstop, which reports indicated Correa would also be willing to do if he signed with the Mets.
Once Crawford is out the door, the position will clearly belong to Correa. But as we head into the 2030s, third base or designated hitter seems like the most likely spot for him. Outside of Korea, the Giants currently don’t have anyone under contract for more than three years, though they do have several players still in pre-arbitration. They had a busy offseason as president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi also added shortstop Mitch Haniger and starters Sean Manae and Ross Stripling while retaining big-bopper Joc Pederson with a one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer.
Competing with the Padres and Dodgers in the National League West will be a lot. But these moves, along with reports of chasing Judge, show the Giants aren’t content to roll over. If they can convince free agent starter Carlos Rodon (now the biggest name still on the board) to return as well, San Francisco looks like a formidable wild card candidate.