Why Carlos Correa’s decision is likely to drag on until February

As Astros free agents continue to sign elsewhere – Kendall Graveman to the White Sox, Yimi Garcia to the Blue Jays, Brooks Raley to the Rays – fans eagerly await the one free agency decision they’ve been gnashing their teeth over for almost a year: Carlos Correa.

Settle in, Astros fans, you may be here a while.

When Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players’ Association expires at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, the owners are expected to impose a lockout on the players. With spring training not set to begin for another 11 weeks, that decision won’t necessarily affect anything on the field – at least not yet – but it will stop teams from negotiating with free agents until a new collective bargaining agreement is signed.

That could be a long wait.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Wednesday afternoon that Correa has received several offers, but doesn’t have a problem waiting for the lockout to conclude. “He will wait,” Heyman tweeted. “The usual big spenders and a majority of playoff teams have not spent big yet, and if the tax threshold rises, that could benefit him.”

Of course, a new CBA could be reached at any point, but once there’s a lockout or a work stoppage, these things typically aren’t resolved until one side or the other starts missing out on money. That won’t happen until February. Pitchers and catchers report for spring training in the…

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