It’s hard to put a price on Carlos Correa’s leadership

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BOSTON – One of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams will soon officially put an award on baseball player Carlos Correa.

Past production will be combined with future projections. Correa horsepower, contact rate, clutch performance consistency, gloves, reach, arm, speed and durability will be evaluated based on ticket sales, merchandise revenue, market influence, social media reach and ratings.

A front-office calculator will calculate all the mind-blowing numbers. Huge and changing value for the franchise will emerge.

Imagine $ 300 million, and you are probably in the approximate stage.

But Correa is brimming with another asset that is much more difficult to quantify. And that attribute also needs to be seriously considered when the Jim Crane Astros make their final bid for Correa’s baseball future.

Direction.

As in, who is going to lead the Astros through everything in 2022 if Correa is gone?

“It was precious before I got here. I just heard about it, ”manager Dusty Baker said ahead of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. “A lot of people want to lead, but how many people want to follow those who want to lead? A real leader doesn’t really have to say, “Follow me.” People just follow them.

Correa has been the public voice of the Astros since a sign-theft scandal instantly altered their national perception in January 2020.

He has been their main spokesperson and their greatest support.

When enemies hate, Correa demands facts.

When October calls, the Astros’ No.1 pick in the 2012 Draft is bigger than ever and once again places his team among the best in the MLB.

And when Baker’s ball club was destroyed for the second straight game on Monday night, Correa was the only Astro who could make Boston 2-1 – and all those Red Sox Grand Slam tournaments – sound normal.

“I trust our guys to do a better job (Tuesday),” said the 27-year-old shortstop, looking as confident and determined as he was at the start of October.

I called it leadership above, and it is.

But there is also another word: presence.

For these Astros, No.1 has an almost invaluable presence.

Replacing him between second and third, and in the daily lineup, is one thing. The Astros, Tampa Bay, Oakland, San Francisco, Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers have all proven in recent years that big names can be overrated and that WAR is more than numbers.

The Astros have won the AL West and 95 games this year without George Springer and Gerrit Cole. (Correa has placed third among all players with a WAR 7.2 this season, but that’s another story for another time.)

But I don’t know how the Astros are going to replace Correa’s presence if he leaves. In the canoe and the club house. Between the lines that define. Before and after all the big glaring moments that also define a baseball team 12 months a year in this modern media age, TV cameras are recording everything and questions are constantly being asked about everything.

When five straight ALCS appearances need to be put into perspective, Correa is the perfect face for the Astros.

When another playoff deficit needs to be framed evenly, Correa is the go-to quote.

When another player vaguely accuses the Astros of cheating again, Correa respectfully fires back and then drops the mic.

It was Correa after the Astros dominated the Chicago White Sox on the road in Game 4 and won the AL Division series: “We don’t pay too much attention (the negativity). At the clubhouse, everything is positivity. We love and care for each other. We support each other, and this is most important to us.

It was Correa after the loss on Monday night, after Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez borrowed Correa’s watch celebration: “We’re talking about making baseball fun. We are talking about the growth of baseball and more people coming to watch the sport. You need things like this. We have to let the players have fun. I loved it, personally. The game should move in that direction where you can show emotions, you can be yourself, and you can keep it real.

These wise lines would sound great and would be widely applauded in New York, Miami, or Seattle.

At a time in this country where far too many people want to fight over the smallest thing and be defined by their differences, Correa was a forward-thinking unifier after Game 3. For his Astros and his MLB.

“I never had a captain,” Baker said. “The leaders are not appointed. They are anointed by their teammates.

The Astros are following Correa’s example.

They permeate and benefit from its presence.

Is he really going to be worth the $ 250 million or $ 300 million or $ 400 million that one of the 30 MLB teams will soon promise him?

Time will tell us. The Astros have made it this season without Justin Verlander.

But if Correa leaves the Astros, the orange and blue will have several holes to fill in at once.

His bat, glove, arm and October cool will need to be replaced.

Even more glaring could be Correa’s lack of leadership and the loss of his day-to-day presence within the Astros organization.

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