By Robiel Vega/ @robielcuba87
One of the biggest questions of the 2022 free agency has already been answered earlier today, Carlos Correa signed a three-year $105.3-million-dollar deal with the Minnesota, with an opt out option the first two campaigns.
Many Houston Astros fans and players were hoping that the infield formed by Correa, José Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel could play together this upcoming campaign, but reality is different. After long months of uncertainty, it is a fact that Correa, who has been an Astro for the entirety of his seven seasons. Will have a new team.
One of his closest teammates, Cuban Yuli Gurriel, gave statements about it: “He was very active last night, but we found out this morning. We know he couldn’t sleep last night, but I am telling you: these are things in life and we have to keep on moving forward.”
Correa, along with his infield mates, formed the quartet with most postseason games played with 72, a mark that, unfortunately, will not grow. On the other hand, his departure opens the doors for another Cuban, Aledmys Díaz, who has done his job as utility infielder, mainly last season, when he played 84 games with a (.259/.317/.405/.721) slash line, with eight homeruns and 45 RBI.
When asked if he expected the Puerto Rican shortstop would return, Yulieski, with a visibly affected gesture, said: “I was hopeful till the end. I thought that maybe he could come back, but things simply didn’t work out, and we have to move on.”
Yulieski also praised 23-year Dominican prospect Jeremy Peña, whom some view as Correa’s substitute: “Tremendous player, a lot of talent, good hitter. He can truly be a superstar.” Peña is coming from a 2021 season playing both in Double A and Triple A, hitting .298 with 10 round-trippers, 21 RBI, six steals, eighth walks and a .842 in 37 games.
Finally, Yuli left a message of affection a gratitude for Correa: “We are going to miss him and it is true he helped me a lot here, not only with my defense, but also with many aspects I had to improve, mainly sabermetrics.”
Correa left a permanent memory in the Astros. He was part of the winningest generation of the franchise, and one of its leading characters. He played three World Series, winning in 2017, and was in the postseason every year except for 2016. He was the 2015 Rookie of the Year, played in two All-Star Games and won a Gold Glove last season.
His numbers were exceptional; a .277/.356/.481/.837 slash line, with 133 homers, 489 RBI and 438 runs. He was equally effective in the playoffs: (.272/.344/.505/.849), with 18 round trippers and 59 RBI in 79 games. We can say with no doubt that he is the most important loss for the Astros this season.