Right at this moment, the Dodgers don’t have a starting shortstop. They have a couple guys like Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux who have been shortstops in the past and maybe could be again, but chances are, their Opening Day shortstop isn’t currently on their 40-man roster.
Trea Turner was their shortstop in 2022, but he’s a free agent and might be looking for a longer contract than they’re willing to dish out, or he might prefer to go back to the east coast. There are some options on the trade market and some other options on the free-agent market. Plenty of shortstops out there, but it’s hard to guess which one will be wearing Dodger blue come spring.
One of those free agents is Carlos Correa, one of the most hated men in Los Angeles. Correa, of course, was a key part of the Astros team that cheated to beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. Not only that, he’s been outspokenly belligerent and unrepentant about the cheating, paying lip service to “yeah, it was wrong” but pouring his heart and soul into his vitriolic response to the cheaters’ critics.
Well, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic thinks there could be a path to Correa becoming a Dodger.
Dodgers officials often have expressed concern their fans would not accept the addition of shortstop Carlos Correa, who is a free agent for the second straight year. …
Well, now things get interesting.
Correa, 28, not only is the youngest of the four big free-agent shortstops, but also should appeal to the Dodgers because the Astros extended a qualifying offer to him last season, making him ineligible to receive one a second time.
Thus, the Dodgers could sign Correa without losing draft picks and international bonus pool money ….
Correa probably will seek a longer contract than the Dodgers are willing to offer, but what if he would take the kind of short-term, high-dollar deal teams fancy to mitigate their risk? The guess here is that Dodgers fans might feel uncomfortable at first, but ultimately would welcome Correa as long as he performed at a high level.
Fans want to win. Even if it means embracing a player they previously despised.
The Dodgers are fans of the short-term, high-dollar contract idea. Their actions suggest they’re much more concerned about roster flexibility than financial expenditures. They reportedly offered the highest average-annual value (AAV) contract to Bryce Harper after 2018, and Trevor Bauer took that kind of deal from L.A. two years ago.
Bauer’s contract didn’t work out, of course, but that wasn’t for baseball reasons, and while Correa is hated by Dodger fans, there’s little reason to suspect he’ll end up in a Bauer situation. The reason Correa is a free agent again is because he didn’t find the long, lucrative deal he was looking for last year. If he finds the market similarly uncooperative this year, he might just go for L.A.’s approach.
Rosenthal is probably right that Los Angeles fans would be okay with Correa as long as he played well. Some might never get to the “welcome” and “embrace” stage, and his jerseys sales would probably be propped up by counterculture social media rebels, at least at first. But we all “root for laundry,” as Jerry Seinfeld famously said, and if the laundry is being worn by a guy we used to hate, we’ll keep rooting for it as long as he plays well.
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