Astros’ Carlos Correa doesn’t sign extension before Opening Day, likely cementing free-agent shortstop class

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Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets agreed to a 10-year extension worth $341 million on Wednesday night, beating the clock on a self-imposed Opening Day deadline to ensure that Lindor will not reach free agency this winter. While Lindor’s negotiations received most of the coverage, he wasn’t the only big-name shortstop in talks with his club about a long-term deal that would keep him off the market.

Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros returned to the bargaining table over the weekend, just days after Correa scoffed at a low-ball offer that would have paid him $120 million over six years. It’s unknown if and by how much the Astros upped their offer in subsequent talks, but it doesn’t appear to have been enough. 

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday night that no deal had been reached ahead of Correa’s self-imposed Opening Day deadline. It’s fair to assume then that, barring a last-minute development, Correa will indeed become a free agent at season’s end.

With Lindor out and Correa in, we now have a firmer idea of what the winter’s free-agent market will look like at the shortstop position. Here’s a hint: it’s pretty good. 

Correa will seemingly be joined by Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies), Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs). All four of those players have made an All-Star Game, and two of them (Story, Baez) have even produced more Wins Above Replacement in the past three seasons than Lindor himself has. This winter, then, is shaping up to be a great time to either need a star shortstop or to represent one.

Correa, for his part, would seem to have more riding on this season than any of the other shortstops, save perhaps Baez. He has dealt with injury issues throughout his career, and he has posted an OPS+ under 100 in two of the past three seasons. He needs a good, healthy season in order to ease any concerns teams might have about either his durability or his viability as a hitter following the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. 

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