Carlos Correa is the Giants best option among free agent shortstops

The Giants are one of many teams shopping at the top of the shortstop market this winter, and Carlos Correa “tops the front office’s list,” said NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic. Previous reports had hinted that Correa was San Francisco’s preferred choice among star shortstops, as the Giants would actually use Correa as a shortstop – the Giants are willing to move Brandon Crawford to third base to allow for a signing from Correa, but if Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson were signed, Crawford would stay at shortstop and Turner/Swanson would play second base.

With so many clubs exploring the markets of the “big four” of Correa, Turner, Swanson and Xander BogaertsOf course, there are various reports (and perhaps some game play or smoke screens) about which players are preferred by certain teams, or who could be a team’s second pick if the best option signs elsewhere. For example, the Twins prioritize keeping Correa in Minnesota, but are open to pursuing Bogaerts as a backup plan. The Phillies reportedly had Turner or Bogaerts as their first pick, but will go to the Winter Meetings and meet the agents of all four shortstops. Meanwhile, the Braves want to sign Swanson, but only Swanson, and are not expected to look to Turner, Bogaerts or Correa if Swanson leaves Atlanta.

Correa’s market may be a bit constrained by its asking price, as Correa, both the youngest of the top shortstops and the only one not tied to a draft fee via the qualifying bid, has arguably the largest contract in the group. MLBTR ranked Correa second on our list of the top 50 free agents of the off-season, predicting a nine-year, $288 million pact for the two-time All-Star as he enters his 28-year season.

Given the Giants’ relative lack of future wage commitments, they can somewhat easily fit a mega deal for Correa into their budget and still have the financial resources to pursue other needs. The Giants were already using some of their pay flexibility to hold on Joe Pederson via the qualifying offer, as San Francisco rather surprisingly made the $19.65 million deal to the outfielder and he accepted the one-year payday. While president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has taken a somewhat conservative approach to spending and contract size during his first four years in San Francisco, the Giants are expected to issue at least one major signing this winter.

That big signing would of course be possible Aaron Judge, as the Giants remain one of the main suitors for the reigning AL MVP. To that end, Pavlovic reiterates the feeling that the Giants probably won’t turn to Correa or any of the star shortstops until Judge decides on his new team.

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