Carlos Correa Is Giants’ Top Option Among Free Agent Shortstops

The Giants are one of the many teams shopping at the top of the shortstop market this winter, and Carlos Correa “is atop the front office’s list,” according to NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic.  Earlier reports had hinted that Correa was San Francisco’s preferred choice among the star shortstops since the Giants were going to actually use Correa at shortstop — the Giants are prepared to move Brandon Crawford to third base to accommodate a Correa signing, but if Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson were signed, Crawford would remain at shortstop and Turner/Swanson would play second base.

With so many clubs exploring the markets of the “big four” of Correa, Turner, Swanson, and Xander Bogaerts, naturally there have been several reports (and perhaps some gamesmanship or smokescreens) concerning which players are preferred by particular teams, or who a team’s second choice might be if the top option signs elsewhere.  The Twins, for example, are prioritizing keeping Correa in Minnesota, but are open to pursuing Bogaerts as a backup plan.  The Phillies have reportedly had either Turner or Bogaerts as their top choice, but will head to the Winter Meetings and meet with the agents of all four shortstops.  Meanwhile, the Braves want to sign Swanson but only Swanson, and aren’t expected to look into Turner, Bogaerts, or Correa if Swanson departs Atlanta.

Correa’s market may be a little limited by his asking price, since as the both the youngest of the top shortstops and the only one not linked to draft compensation via the qualifying offer, Correa might command the biggest contract of the group. MLBTR ranked Correa second on our list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents, predicting a nine-year, $288MM pact for the two-time All-Star as he enters his age-28 season.

Given the Giants’ relative lack of future payroll commitments, they can somewhat easily fit a mega-deal for Correa into their budget and still have the financial means to pursue other needs.  The Giants already used some of their payroll flexibility in retaining Joc Pederson via the qualifying offer, as San Francisco rather surprisingly issued the $19.65MM deal to the outfielder and he accepted the one-year payday.  While president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has taken a somewhat conservative approach to spending and contract size during his first four years in San Francisco, the expectation is that the Giants will splurge on at least one big signing this winter.

Of course, that big signing could well be Aaron Judge, as the Giants remain as one of the chief suitors for the reigning AL MVP.  To this end, Pavlovic echoes the sentiment that the Giants aren’t likely to pivot to Correa or any of the star shortstops until Judge decides on his new team.

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