It’s not exactly a pressing matter, as Correa won’t become eligible for arbitration until after the 2018 season and he won’t become eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season. However, one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in baseball over the last few years is the tendencies for teams to try to sign their young star players to contract extensions even before they hit arbitration eligibility. Their thinking is that they pay more money up front to save significantly more money later on when the player establishes himself as a star. Take Giants ace Madison Bumgarner as an example. He’s signed to a five-year, $35 million contract with two club options for the 2018 and ’19 seasons. If he were to hit the free agent market right now, he’d earn hundreds of millions of dollars, but he took the up-front financial security when it was offered to him as a 22-year-old.
Correa, as Heyman notes, has a sponsorship deal with Adidas and other companies that will help him stay financially secure in the near future even if he suffers an injury and/or his performance drops off, hurting his future earnings. Correa, unlike Bumgarner, will forego money now to hopefully make much more money later.
In his first three seasons in the majors, Correa has hit .276/.354/.471 with 43 home runs, 167 RBI, 132 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases in 1,136 plate appearances. He’s already racked up over 10 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference, and he’s still five months away from his 23rd birthday.