Carlos Correa seems resigned to the inevitable.
A player for the Astros since he was 17 years old, Correa is aware of the high odds that his tenure with the team will soon expire — perhaps at the same time that Houston’s current adventure in the playoffs ends.
“This is my house,” he commented. “But this is not up to me.”
The Puerto Rican will become a free agent at the end of the season, and the Astros do not seem willing to offer him what another club will surely put on the table.
Both parties negotiated before this season without success, and the star shortstop decided to end the talks when the season began, so that the contract situation would not distract him from his sports responsibilities.
He has by no means looked concerned on the ground during the year. He hit a career-high 26 home runs and led all position players in the sabermetric win-over-replacement (WAR) statistic, both overall with 7.2 and defensively with 2.9.
But as the Astros prepare to start the American League Division Series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, the day for Correa to say goodbye to Houston seems close.
“I just hope there is a way that we can retain and sign Carlos, because he is a very big part of this team, not only on the field, but as one of its leaders,” stressed manager Dusty Baker.
General manager James Click sidestepped a question Tuesday about Correa’s future.
“For now, we are focused on the postseason,” he emphasized. “We will talk about the rest when possible.”
With his future in limbo, Correa reflected on what this team has meant to him since his teens. He remembered the day the Astros drafted him as the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the feeling he got soon after, when he stepped foot in Minute Maid Park.
“I just thought it was like a dream, and I was really looking forward to playing,” he said.
Correa knew what was expected of him from day one, and he accepted the challenge of helping transform a franchise that lost 107 games during the year he selected him.
“When you get picked on the first general shift, I think you have the pressure to make the organization improve,” he said. “During the time that I have spent here, I have complied and have done some things for this organization. Winning a championship was one, but also representing this team in the right way off the field. That makes me proud ”.
Perhaps the only person close to Correa who is optimistic about his permanence for next year is the Venezuelan José Altuve, his partner and friend.
The second baseman constantly tells the Puerto Rican that a way will be found to keep him in Houston’s ranks.
“He does not sign the checks or negotiate the contracts,” Correa clarified, before an idea lit up his face. “He does have power in this organization though, so we’ll see what happens.”