Baseball's slow-burning Hot Stove is apparently heating up.
A bombshell report this week said the Houston Astros have been shopping All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa during offseason trade talks with other clubs.
The Astros are gauging interest in Correa, according to MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, because he's entering the final year of his contract before free agency, and the team doesn't believe it can lock him up before he hits the open market.
Correa, a former No. 1 overall draft pick by Houston, has been a fixture of the Astros' recent run of success, but injuries have impeded his presumed march to perennial MVP contender.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of a potential Correa deal is what it would mean for Francisco Lindor and the rest of the shortstop market. The Cleveland Indians star is also thought to be available in a trade, and though he profiles differently from Correa in some ways, they will presumably draw interest from many of the same suitors.
Here's a look at some teams who could be interested in the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year.
New York Mets
Steve Cohen's arrival has Mets fans dreaming big. Why not?
Just as we wrote regarding the Mets' potential interest in Lindor, the Amazin's have a few intriguing young options in the middle infield that might intrigue any trade partner, but especially so for one giving up a star shortstop.
If the Mets plan to contend in 2021, there's no reason to think they wouldn't be interested. On the other hand, they could choose to play the long game, knowing they might get a crack at either or both players in free agency next offseason since teams appear to be hesitant to commit to long-term megadeals in the present climate.
The Braves are rightly praised for having built their excellent nucleus in-house, but they've gone outside the organization for splashy additions more than once on recent occasion.
Specifically, they ponied up hefty short-term deals for the likes of Marcell Ozuna and Josh Donaldson. But those acquisitions came in free agency. Are they willing to cough up some decent players for Correa?
You'd have to think a package would start with another former No. 1 overall draft pick -- fellow shortstop Dansby Swanson. He's fallen short of the hype so far, but he took small steps forward the past couple years before a mini-breakout in the virus-shortened season.
Another complication would be the Braves' apparent aversion to pricey long-term deals for free agents. Still, with the team narrowly falling short of the World Series, you wonder if the front office would be willing to go for broke now and deal with the consequences later.
The Phillies' top priority would seemingly be re-signing JT Realmuto, and if they do so, adding a player the caliber of Correa (or Lindor) would also make sense for a team that is built to win now.
A recent report said the Phillies would indeed likely check in on Lindor if he's available, so it stands to reason they'd take a similar approach on Correa. The hitch is that it's unclear if the Phillies have the assets to get a deal done, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals, like the Phillies, must first settle the matter of their backstop. The Redbirds find themselves in relatively unfamiliar circumstances facing uncertainty at the catcher position, with Yadier Molina signaling interest in fielding offers in free agency.
The team is interested in infusing some "energy and production" into the lineup, per Morosi, as it seeks to change the narrative over its misreading of Rays star Randy Arozarena, who broke out during the postseason.
While Lindor's game is more aptly described as energetic than Correa's, there's no doubt Correa brings premium offensive production when he's healthy.
New York Yankees
By all accounts it appears the Bombers are intent are re-signing second baseman DJ LeMahieu, which would likely cement Gleyber Torres' role at shortstop and Gio Urshela's at third base.
But in the event LeMahieu walks, one would think Lindor, and therefore Correa, would be of interest.
The Yanks have a long history with Correa over the Astros' spying scandal, that is a potential complication. But if former rivals such as Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon could don the pinstripes, anyone can.
Even if the Yanks re-sign LeMahieu, I wouldn't totally rule out a separate move for a shortstop, a position which is proving to be more than Torres can handle defensively.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays are thought to have an inside track on Lindor because of their front office's ties to the Indians. A team exec didn't dismiss moving budding star shortstop Bo Bichette to a different position, Morosi reported, a sign that a move could be in the offing.
Certainly it appears Toronto has a special affinity for Lindor, but it'd make sense if they checked in on Correa along the same lines as they seek to keep up in the tough AL East. The Jays are said to have a deep farm system.