The long-ballyhooed superstar shortstop free-agent class of 2021-22 is down to two: Carlos Correa and Trevor Story.
Beginning with the 10-year, $341 million extension Francisco Lindor signed with the Mets just before the 2021 season, the shortstops have come off the board one by one: Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Javier Baez. That leaves Correa, Story and a whole lot of teams that ought to be interested in them when this tedious labor dispute between the owners and players is resolved.
Thus, though their situations are very different, the narratives of Story and Correa are intertwined more now than ever.
The basics of this offseason are simple: A number of teams need shortstops. The best players available at that position are Correa and Story. But it's also more than that. One of the things about being a major league shortstop is that if you can play that position well, you can play other positions well, too. Thus, Correa and Story don't just fit with shortstop-thirsty teams, but teams that need an infield upgrade, period.
That should mean a robust market for these two standouts, once baseball's transactions start rolling again at full capacity. As we said: It's simple, right? Supply and demand.
Alas, when it comes to baseball economics, things are rarely as straightforward as they appear. After all, who could have predicted when free agency started that the 102-loss Texas Rangers would end up with Semien and Seager?
Well, with the owners and players standing their ground on "core economic issues" (i.e., how to split up the riches), let's go through the likely markets for Correa and Story, with the caveat that the outcome of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations might impact this analysis in ways that, right now, we can't predict.
Where are Correa and Story likely to land?