Last week, two of the top remaining 2022 free agents, Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa, reached agreements with the Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins, respectively. The overwhelming reaction by MLB commentators to the deals with teams located in flyover country was puzzlement and shock. Why didn’t they sign in New York?
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 19, 2022
Most of the puzzlement regarding the Bryant deal related to the Rockies’ history with former star Nolan Arenado.
13 months ago, the Colorado Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to get out of paying the remaining $199 million on his contract.
Now they signed Kris Bryant to a deal that is only $17 million less than that. Explain how this makes sense.
— Ryan Finkelstein (@FinkelsteinRyan) March 16, 2022
Bryant earned the right to become a free agent and sign with the team of his choice. But did he not talk to Arenado or any of the other former Rockies who grew disillusioned in Colorado? Tremendous as Bryant’s contract is, how long before he becomes disillusioned, too?
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2022
I disagree with Rosenthal’s viewpoint because it assumes that Bryant should share Arenado’s long-term goals, which did not fit with remaining on a noncompetitive Colorado team. Bryant has always struck me as a family-first individual, and I believe his main motivation in free agency was to take care of his dependents by signing the best deal possible with a team in a friendly environment. He is already a Rookie of the Year, MVP and World Series champion (none of which are found in Arenado’s hefty trophy case), so his legacy is secure.
While Arenado’s departure still looms large over the Rockies, the six-time All-Star was traded ahead of the 2021 season, so Bryant is in fact replacing outgoing free agents Trevor Story and Jon Gray. The Rockies did not exert themselves to keep said players. Story rejected a qualifying offer, while Gray did not receive any such offer.
Why spend money on Bryant instead of Story and Gray? Bryant wanted to join the team, and he is a star who can sell tickets. I’m not so sure any amount of money could have persuaded Story and Gray to stick around. Story has reportedly reached an agreement with the Boston Red Sox, where he will change positions.
Breaking: Trevor Story and the Red Sox have agreed to a six-year, $140 million contract, according to multiple reports. USA Today was first to report the news.
— ESPN (@espn) March 20, 2022
Trevor Story has agreed to play 2B for Boston. Xander Bogaerts, the longtime Red Sox SS w/2 rings, will remain at SS for Boston for 2022. Bogaerts has an opt out after the season he is sure to exercise, so potentially (if Bogaerts leaves), Story could move back to SS next season.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 20, 2022
One star is better than no stars, amirite? For confirmation, check with a Cubs fan near you.
Later in the week, news broke about Correa’s contract with the Twins. Naturally, MLB commentators focused on what the deal meant for the New York Yankees.
So the Twins got the Yankees to take every single penny of their most expensive contract so they could turn around and sign Carlos Correa….*Chef’s kiss* pic.twitter.com/ps3Fp8hLio
— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) March 19, 2022
Why would Correa step out of the big-market franchises’ bright lights? Because he’s cashing in!
Carlos Correa’s contract with the Twins has an average annual value of $35.1 million per year.
That is the 4th-highest in MLB.
1. Max Scherzer ($43.33M AAV)
2. Gerrit Cole ($36M AAV)
3. Mike Trout ($35.54M AAV)
4. Carlos Correa ($35.1M AAV) pic.twitter.com/UdCrJAEJRo
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) March 19, 2022
The contract also has been reported to include opt-outs after years 1 and 2, which will allow Correa to seek out a long-term deal after he proves he can remain healthy and produce without the benefit of Houston dugout trash cans. Essentially, it is an upgraded “pillow contract.” This will almost certainly benefit the pocketbook of one Scott Boras, who will not need to split fees with Correa’s former agent for any new agreements.
If you enjoyed my “MLB outsider” reasoning, please be sure to leave a comment!
Featured Image: Carlos Correa, shortstop for the Houston Astros, at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ, USA on 5-30-16 by Keeton Gale / Shutterstock.com.