So who is worth more, Francisco Lindor or Carlos Correa?
Oh, I know. Lindor signed a $341 million extension with the Mets because the team’s new owner, Steve Cohen, wanted to make a splash, show his fans he was willing to spend big. I can hear rival executives now: It was an overpay, an outlier, a bad deal. None of the pending free-agent shortstops will get that much.
Ah, but Lindor had only one team bidding for him. Correa will be a free agent this offseason, available to all. He will hit the open market entering his age 27 campaign, one year younger than Lindor will be next season in the first year of his extension. And while Correa has never finished higher than 17th in the MVP voting, he demonstrated again on Friday night why the competition for him almost certainly will be fierce, even though yes, he was a member of the 2017 and ’18 Astros teams that engaged in illegal, electronic sign stealing, and has been the most outspoken player in the aftermath of the scandal, both remorseful and defiant.
Oh, I know. He’s a cheater. He and the other Astros were not disciplined by Major League Baseball. I don’t want him on my team. Some fans surely would harbor those sentiments, at least initially, if their favorite club signed Correa. But I don’t recall Blue Jays fans marching in protest after the Jays signed outfielder George Springer last offseason to a $150 million free-agent contract. Granted, Springer is not the face of the scandal the way Correa is. But Correa is four years younger than Springer, and a more valuable player.
His go-ahead, two-out homer in the seventh inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series was classic Correa, a big October moment from a player who embraces postseason pressure like few others. Correa finished 3-for-4 in the Astros’ 5-4 victory over the Red Sox, and his 100.7 mph groundout in the first inning and 114.1 mph single in the third both were hit harder than his homer off reliever Hansel Robles, which traveled a mere 96.9. Correa, after dispensing with Robles’ 2-2 changeup, looked at his wrist, pounded his chest twice and screamed at the Astros’ dugout, “it’s my time!” He was boasting and speaking the truth, all at once.