The Baltimore Orioles are planning to increase payroll this winter, and a large chunk of that potential money could go to Carlos Correa. FanSided’s Robert Murray reports in his latest Inside the Clubhouse that the Birds would be an appropriate fit for the star shortstop. Correa also confirmed today that he is indeed opting out of his contract with the Minnesota Twins, meaning he will officially be a free agent.
Here is what Murray had to say regarding the Orioles rumor:
"The Orioles have a strong young core, headlined by Adley Rutschman, and are viewed by rival executives as a team that could make a splash in free agency. Correa, arguably the best free-agent shortstop, would fit that description … if the price is right. One note to consider: Mike Elias, the Orioles general manager, was the Astros’ amateur scouting director when Houston drafted Correa."
There is a lot to break down in this one small paragraph. Based on how recent championships have constructed their rosters, we know that supplementing homegrown talent with big free agents or trade acquisitions is a sound way to make a deep playoff run. Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson will (hopefully) be around for years, and after the shockingly successful 2022 season, now is the time to add to the roster.
The Baltimore Orioles are in a prime position to pursue upcoming free agent SS Carlos Correa should they so choose.
It is simultaneously off-putting and wonderful to hear that industry sources view the Orioles as a power player in free agency. That sounds more like a glitch in The Matrix than real life. Depending on your definition, Baltimore hasn’t handed out a large-ish contract since signing Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner before the 2018 season. Turning into a sustainable contender is Mike Elias’s main goal. Fans now get to an enjoy hot stove season, just as they are getting used to having good pitching development.
Murray offers a crucial qualifier that the Orioles would only sign Correa “if the price is right”. Just like the game show, Elias can’t/won’t go over whatever his maximum offer is. It is unclear how much money Correa will get after a good-not-great season, but it will certainly be a lot. He won’t get an average annual salary of $35M like he has this year, but it could still be over $30M. The Orioles can afford it; it is more a question of whether they want to. Elias and Correa have a clear connection as Murray notes, but I am not sure how much that really matters a decade later.
Murray also thinks the Chicago Cubs would be a good fit for Correa but points out that they might be interested in one of the other top shortstops available. Since they are in one of the largest markets, the Cubs can certainly afford to spend big on a star. I think Dansby Swanson would make more sense for them if he leaves Atlanta.
After Orioles Twitter had a field day getting irrationally exciting at the prospect of signing Correa during Spring Training, it seems like the same thing could happen in the coming months.