Carlos Correa is the Giants’ top pick for free-agent shortstops

The Giants are one of many teams shopping at the top of the shortstop market this winter, and Carlo Correa “It’s high on the front office list,” said Alex Pavlovic of NBC Bay Area. Previous reports had indicated that Correa was San Francisco’s preferred choice of star shortstops because the Giants would actually field Correa as shortstop — the Giants are poised to make a move Brandon Crawford to third base to pick up a Correa signing, but if Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson signed, Crawford would remain at shortstop and Turner/Swanson would play second base.

With so many clubs covering the ‘big four’ markets of Correa, Turner, Swanson and Xander Bogaerts, of course, there have been multiple reports (and maybe some shenanigans or smokescreens) about which players are favored by certain teams, or who might be a team’s second pick if the top option signs elsewhere. The twins, for example, prioritize keeping Correa in Minnesota but are open to pursuing Bogaerts as a backup plan. The Phillies reportedly had either Turner or Bogaerts as their first picks, but will go to the winter meetings and meet with agents from all four shortstops. Meanwhile, the Braves want to sign Swanson, but only Swanson, and are not expected to investigate Turner, Bogaerts or Correa if Swanson leaves Atlanta.

Correa’s market may be a little constrained by its asking price, as Correa, as the youngest of the top shortstops and the only one not tied to a qualifying draft fee offer, may have the largest contract in the group. MLBTR ranked Correa second on our list of the top 50 free agents of the offseason, forecasting a nine-year, $288 million pact for the two-time All-Star early in his season at the age of 28.

Given the Giants’ relative lack of future pay commitments, they can easily fit a mega deal for Correa into their budget and still have the financial resources to meet other needs. The Giants were already using some of their payroll flexibility to keep them Joc Pederson about the qualifying offer when, quite surprisingly, San Francisco issued the $19.65 million deal to the outfielder and he accepted the year-long payday. While baseball operations president Farhan Zaidi has taken a somewhat conservative approach to spending and contract size in his first four years in San Francisco, the Giants can be expected to flaunt at least one major signing this winter.

Of course, that big signing could be good Aaron Richter, as the Giants remain a prime contender for incumbent AL MVP. To that end, Pavlovic reiterates his sentiment that the Giants are unlikely to switch to Correa or any of the star shortstops until Judge decides on his new team.

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