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SF Giants: No one is trading Marco Luciano for Carlos Correa

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) looks over at teammate second baseman Jose Altuve (27) in the second inning during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) looks over at teammate second baseman Jose Altuve (27) in the second inning during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
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SF Giants, Carlos Correa
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Could the SF Giants try to acquire Correa in the coming year? (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Over at our sibling site, FanSided contributor Brad Berreman tried to find five teams that should make a Godfather offer for Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. As Correa enters his final season before free agency, it might not be out of the question that Houston could consider moving him. However, as Berreman notes, with the Astros entrenched in competition for the American League West title, they will need a substantial offer to make such a move. He ranks the SF Giants as the fourth most likely team to offer such a haul for the All-Star shortstop.

"With an eye on keeping him long-term and making it a three-team race in the NL West going forward, here’s how an all-in offer for Correa might look for the Giants. Giants Get SS Carlos Correa Astros Get SS Brandon Crawford SS Marco Luciano OF Heliot Ramos LHP Kyle Harrison"

Berreman speculates the Giants could package their current shortstop Brandon Crawford with prospects Marco Luciano, Heliot Ramos, and Kyle Harrison in exchange for the 26-year-old Correa. Houston would obviously need a lot in return to move one of their franchise cornerstones. There’s no denying that this offer would give them more than enough to justify pulling the trigger.

Luciano would easily be the prize of the deal. He has generational potential at the plate and currently ranks among the top-25 prospects in baseball on nearly every major outlets’ list. Ramos and Harrison, though, are far from throw-ins themselves. Harrison was drafted in the third round of last year’s draft and signed for a $2.5 million signing bonus, equivalent to a late first-round pick. Ramos, the Giants’ first-round selection in 2017, is a consensus top-100 prospect with potential plus power and a shot to remain in center field.

Berreman’s logic is understandable. Throughout the offseason, there was reason to believe the Giants would make aggressive plays for players like Francisco Lindor or Blake Snell for similar reasons. However, Berreman’s analysis lacks a nuanced understanding of the franchise’s recent approach to team building. Moreover, this proposal has San Francisco forfeiting more than a king’s ransom for a player they could target in free agency next offseason.

Correa is undeniably a superior player to Crawford, but the gap between them in one season is far smaller than the disparity if both were under contract for the next five years. Per Steamer’s projections, Crawford is projected to produce 1.1 wins above replacement (WAR) this season, while Correa is expected to reach 3.9 WAR. Would the Giants be willing to give up any significant prospects for less than a 3 WAR upgrade?

Under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, San Francisco has shown time and time again that they are unwilling to pay a premium for star power. Correa would be a clear upgrade in the short and long-term (assuming they could agree to an extension), but frankly, the Giants would probably hesitate to trade Ramos and Harrison, who both rank among the top-five prospects in their farm system, by themselves for Correa. Adding Luciano, who may be one of the ten best prospects in baseball to such a deal, would be an unprecedented overpay for a player on the cusp of free agency.

Until the Giants make a significant move, speculation will continue about the franchise’s future at shortstop. Reports have consistently suggested the Giants will be major players in free agency next offseason, when shortstops Lindor, Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, and Javier Baez are all currently set to hit the open market. It’s hard to envision them maneuvering from a place of desperation with so many strong options likely coming available soon on the open market.

This is not to say a potential trade is out of the question, even for Correa. But if the Giants do make a notable addition via trade, fans should expect the prospect’s surrendered to be underwhelming. Few franchises have hoarded young, controllable talent more than San Francisco over the past few seasons. They will obviously look to move some of those pieces for more proven players at some point but expect it to come with the prudence and caution that has defined Zaidi’s tenure.

Next. SF Giants Rotation Remains Risky Experiment

The SF Giants front office has been uber aggressive in pursuit of players on the margins. Few, if any, teams have claimed more players off waivers and made minor trades to improve their organization’s depth. At the same time, that has come with an almost equivalent aversion to chasing stars. Many expect that to change in the coming years, as they look to take their next step towards contention, but in no scenarios will that lead them to throw a collection of prospects like Marco Luciano, Heliot Ramos, and Kyle Harrison together for Carlos Correa in the last year of his contract.

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