Washington Nationals: Free Agent Preview Carlos Correa

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a single against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 31: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a single against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals are in some serious need of power in the lineup. Our next free-agent profile — Carlos Correa.

Re-signing Juan Soto needs to be the Washington Nationals’ number one priority. That’s obvious. Fortunately, the front office has already attempted to lock up their superstar, offering Soto a 13-year extension worth $350 million. Yes, he turned it down, but Nationals fans should be ecstatic to see discussions have already started.

Super agent Scott Boras has said in the past, Soto won’t sign an extension until he believes Washington is set up to contend. One way to prove to Soto they are intent on returning to contention as soon as possible is splurging on the top available free agent. Enter Carlos Correa.

Now, put away your pitchforks and torches and listen. Yes. Correa was part of the Astros team that banged on trash cans and cheated. That doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the best at his position and would fill the Nationals’ need for production in the middle of the lineup.

Since the trade deadline, the Nats offense led the NL in OBP (.348), and walk percentage (BB%) (11.1%), were third in batting average (.257), and were fourth in wRC+ (104). While they excelled at getting on base, the team was dreadful when it came to delivering the big hit. Washington ranked fifth in OPS (.762), eighth in RBIs (252) ninth in SLG (.415), and 10th in homers (63).

Over his seven years in Houston, Correa was a consistent source of production, hitting .277, with 133 homers, 489 RBIs, and an OPS of .837. Fans may find it hard for the Nationals to sign another superstar shortstop after trading away Trea Turner, but Correa is younger and a defensive upgrade.

One of the best defensive shortstops in the league, the 27-year old has a career 67 DRS and a -12.2 UZR, winning a Gold Glove and Platinum Gold Glove this past year.

Correa always raises his game in the playoffs, tied for seventh in MLB history for postseason homers with 18. In 79 playoff games, he’s slashing .272/.344/.505, with 18 homers, 59 RBIs, and an OPS of .849. The majority of Washington’s roster lacks any playoff experience and would vastly benefit from Correa’s clutch gene.

Correa is projected to sign a contract in the $350 million range and it may be unwise for Washington to shell out that type of money until they lock up Soto. Especially considering that Corbin and Strasburg are still owed $82 million and $175 million. But signing Correa will prove to Soto that they are determined to return to contention as soon as possible.

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