Free Agent Notes: Correa, Braves, Story, Tigers, Cueto

Tea brave were somewhat surprisingly connected to Carlos Correa prior to the lockout, and the two sides did re-engage to some extent before Correa signed with the Twins, though The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Atlanta didn’t make Correa an offer. It was actually agent Scott Boras who reached out to the Braves as he was gauging the market for his client, and Rosenthal writes that Boras “floated” the same three-year, $105.3MM deal with two opt-outs that Correa eventually signed with Minnesota .

While nothing came of these negotiations, Rosenthal does wonder if Correa (assuming he opts out) might be a target for the Braves next winter, as incumbent shortstop Dansby Swanson will be a free agent. Signing Correa to a long-term deal would surely require Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos to make his biggest expenditure yet, though the Braves will have quite a bit of money coming off the books in the form of Swanson, Kenley Jansenand depending on club options, charlie morton and Will Smith.

More from around the league…

  • Tea Giants and Astros were the other finalists for Trevor Story‘s services, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter link). Expanding on San Francisco’s interest, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic writes that the Giants “did recruit him quite a bit,” even if “a few of their people always felt [Story] was headed for Boston.” Among other suitors, The Athletic’s Dan Hayes writes that the Twins discussed multiple contract scenarios with Story but the team’s preference seemed to be a pricey but shorter-term contract, like Minnesota’s eventual three-year, $105.3MM deal with Carlos Correa.
  • Tea Tigers were known to be looking at all of the “big six” free agent shortstops, and signed Javier Baez to a six-year, $140MM deal prior to the lockout. There wasn’t much known about the Tigers’ negotiations with Story, though Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press reports that “Story wasn’t interested in the Tigers’ proposed contract structure.” This is an interesting wrinkle considering that Story also got six years and $140MM from the Red Sox, though Baez’s salary is a bit backloaded and he can opt out of the deal following the 2023 season. Story’s deal also has an opt-out decision but not until after the 2025 season, plus the Sox can overwrite Story’s opt-out by exercising a club option for a seventh year.
  • In others Tigers news, GM Al Avila told Petzold and other reporters that the club is “done” their major offseason shopping after signing Michael Pineda for the back of the rotation. Detroit had one of the more aggressive and active winters of any club, and Avila and his front office also explored many other options besides the players they did acquire via trades and free agent deals. In regards to the Pineda contract, for instance, the Tigers looked at several other available veterans who ended up signing elsewhere, and Petzold adds that Detroit also considered Johnny Cueto. Last month, MLBTR’s Steve Adams explored Cueto’s free agent case, arguing that the 36-year-old was still a pretty decent option for teams looking for relatively inexpensive rotation depth.

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