Where would Carlos Correa end up? That was one of the big storylines in the 2021-2022 offseason.
Well, it was…Minnesota? Of course!
He’s enjoying the first year of a three-year $105.3 million contract that he can opt out of after this season. So, Minnesota may have simply rented the shortstop for 2022; the storyline could very well continue in the offseason. I assume the decision to include an opt-out is appealing for a player because it’s like saying, “Hey, let me see how well I play this year, and if I do really well, I’ll go get a bigger paycheck elsewhere.”
But to be fair, it also allows Correa to size up the marketplace. He can decide whether or not to join free agency in 2023 alongside other shortstops like Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson. That seems like tough competition, but that’s not a lot of shortstops. Correa probably wants something long-term, like Corey Seager’s 10-year contract. Can he command this from another team if there is a limited supply, especially if those three guys sign quickly and get long-term contracts themselves? Time will tell.
Well, let’s check in and see how the 27-year-old is doing so far this season. He’s slashing .271/.351/.445. He has 18 home runs in 484 plate appearances. In the last month, he’s batting .290 with an .871 OPS. He has a 3.2 WAR.
He’s not going to reach the 104 runs and 92 RBI from last year (he has yet to crack 60 in either category), but he’s arguably in a weaker lineup, so that’s not a fair comparison. Most of his key stats have remained steady, so unlike other shortstops who moved to other teams and took longer to acclimate (Lindor, say, or Seager in the first half of the year), Correa is showing that he can give a team consistency. That might be a consideration.
Last night we were reminded of that as he hit the game-winning two-run shot in the eighth inning off Greg Weissert. That was his only knock of the game, but it was the deadliest for the Yanks. You have to admit, if you’re looking for a shortstop this offseason, you’d like the guy who can waltz into Yankee Stadium and help punch out a win.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday.
Yoán Moncada (CWS): 5-6, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
Moncada pummeled a changeup from JP Sears in the first inning, sending it 403 feet to complete the back-to-back jack fun with Elvis Andrus. Then in the very next inning, Moncada hammered a fastball for a three-run shot. He has nine homers on the year now, and he’s batting .211/.280/.344. The 27-year-old had a career year in 2019 but hasn’t been able to reach that level in the past two seasons. Some of this is injury-related, and he was once a top prospect. Maybe there are still more seasons like 2019 here.
Alex Call (WSH): 4-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Call nailed a fastball from James Naile in the top of the ninth inning yesterday. The 27-year-old third-round pick in 2016 has two home runs in his first 56 plate appearances and is currently slashing .245/.339/.429. In 305 plate appearances in Triple-A, he managed a line of .280/.418/.494 with 11 homers and six stolen bases.
Yadier Molina (STL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Molina took Josiah Gray deep a couple of times yesterday, mashing his third and fourth homers of the season. That gives him a .927 OPS in the last 32 at-bats. He’s batting .261 in the last month, so he’s getting hot at just the right time for the playoff hopes of St. Louis.
Elvis Andrus (CWS): 2-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
If you don’t know, Andrus was released by Oakland on August 17th. It might have brought the man a spark of joy to have such a great night against his former ballclub. Andrus absolutely obliterated a leadoff homer off JP Sears in the first inning. It went 443 feet. I mean, c’mon! It was a high fastball (above the letters and out of the zone). Big league veteran here. He’s hitting .247 on the season and that was his 12th homer.
Miguel Andújar (NYY): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Well, that was short-lived, Miguel. I’m sorry. Andujar was called up yesterday, smacked a homer off Sonny Gray in the second inning, and got optioned back to Triple-A, where he has 297 plate appearances this season. Just so you know, in that time he’s slashing .285/.330/.487. The 27-year-old hit 27 homers in 606 plate appearances in 2018.
Eloy Jiménez (CWS): 1-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Jimenez hit a two-run shot off Zach Logue in the fourth inning yesterday, his second homer in as many days. In 63 games, the 25-year-old outfielder is batting .302/.372/.488. That’s his 11th home run in 242 plate appearances.
Seiya Suzuki (CHC): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Suzuki is having a solid month. While he only has three home runs in his last 99 at-bats, he’s batting .293 in that same time period to go along with a .830 OPS. In his first year of a five-year $85 million contract, Suzuki is hitting .264/.337/.436. Yesterday, he hit a solo shot off Alexis Diaz in the eighth inning.
Kyle Farmer (CIN): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
Farmer has now hit two homers in his last three games, giving him ten on the season. In the last month, he’s batting .295, and in the last two weeks, he has an OPS of .828. Yesterday’s homer came off Adrian Sampson in the seventh inning. The 32-year-old shortstop is batting .265/.327/.390.
César Hernández (WSH): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The last three hitters in today’s article are featured because, well, they’ve been hitting. Hernandez’s season-long numbers may not look fantastic, but in the last month (76 at-bats) he’s hitting .329 with an .849 OPS. He’s been batting 6th or 7th for the Nationals and last night he managed three RBI against the Cardinals.
Brendan Donovan (STL): 3-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB.
With those two walks, Donovan reached base five times yesterday. He has been a solid presence all year at the top of the St. Louis lineup. The 25-year-old may have a .388 SLG, but he also has a .400 OBP. This is a big reason why they are third in runs scored this year.
Jonathan India (CIN): 3-5, RBI.
India fell off the radar earlier this year. He dealt with a hamstring injury early, and then things seemed slow to start. But in the last month, he’s batting .317 with a .862 OPS. He may just now be getting healthy, and we may see a solid finish.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)