In a shocking development, Carlos Correa He has agreed to join the Mets on a 12-year, $315 million contract, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post . Correa had previously agreed to a 13-year, $350 million deal with the Giants, but reports surfaced yesterday that an undisclosed issue with Correa’s medicals led to the postponement of the Giants’ introductory press conference for the shortstop. The 28-year-old Correa represents the Boras Corporation, and his deal with the Mets will become official once he passes a physical.
Like Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets“The Giants flagged something [Correa’s] physical and medical doctors disagreed.Slusser also reported yesterday that Correa’s back problem was not present, although back pain has sent the former All-Star to the injured list several times during his career.
Whatever the Giants may have argued with Correa’s physical condition, it’s clear the issue wasn’t enough to keep the Mets from adding another high-priced star to their already loaded roster (and payroll). Mets owner Steve Cohen said last week that the team made a late offer of about $300 million to land Correa, but that offer was rejected by agent Scott Boras because talks with the Giants had reached an advanced stage.
As it turned out, that late Cohen tryout was apparently all Boras needed to secure another mega deal for his client after the deal with San Francisco fell apart. As Cohen told Heyman.we kind of put together where we were before and it just workedduring four or five hours of additional negotiations.
Correa’s new contract with New York is a year shorter and has a slightly lower average annual value ($26.25 million with the Mets compared to $26.92 million with the Giants). It is also “only” now the 10th largest contract in baseball history by total value, while the $350 million deal with San Francisco was the fourth largest in history.
Still, the deal exceeds MLBTR’s projection of a nine-year, $288 million contract for Correa. Like the structure of the original Giants contract, as well as other deals made Xander Bogaerts and: Trea Turner: Only this winter, the longer length allows the team to spread the hit of the luxury tax over more years while the player still gets his money’s worth as well as added security. The Mets themselves used a variation of this strategy in the re-signing Brandon Nimmo eight-year, $162 million deal, as Nimmo’s tax number is $20.25 million. Correa now joins Nimmo and Francisco Lindor because the Mets’ players are under contract after the 2029 season, although the Mets’ spending this winter has been fluctuating.
Bigger spending totals continue to rock. Assuming Correa’s contract pays him $26.25 million in each year of the deal, the Amazins’ salary will now climb to the $377 million cap for 2023. pays 90% tax on every dollar over the $293 million threshold. That’s roughly $23.62 million added to the Mets’ tax bill, pushing their luxury tax number over $386 million.
Korea, Nimmo, Justin Verlander, Edwin Diaz, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Adam Ottavinoand: Omar Narvaez feature a star-studded list of free agents signed and re-signed by New York this offseason alone, to say nothing of their previous big shakeups since Cohen bought the team just two years ago. Needless to say, Cohen set new standards for spending as the owner was unfazed by his desire to make the Mets as competitive as possible. The result was a 101-win season in 2022, but the Amazins did not advance past the first round of the expanded playoffs, losing to the Padres in three games in the Wild Card Series.
The signing of Korea”really makes a big differenceCohen said. “I felt our pitch was in good shape. We needed another striker. This puts us on top“.
Indeed, the Mets’ main focus has been on a rotation full of free agents and improving the bullpen. Before Diaz and Ottavino were re-signed, there were plenty of holes to fill after that Jacob de Grom, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Seth Lugo, Joel Rodriguez, Trevor Williams, Trevor Mayand: Michael Givens all signed elsewhere. Nimmo was the biggest pending free agent by position player, and Narvaez was supposed to help bolster the catching corps, but Cohen and GM Billy Eppler weren’t about to hold back on their aggressiveness.
To that end, one of the best bases in baseball in Correa won’t even be shortstop now, as Correa will now be moved to third base out of respect for Lindor. Correa won a Platinum Glove, Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award for his work in 2021, and his professional experience at third base consists of one game with the Astros’ Double-A affiliate in 2015. Thus, Lindor is a GREAT fielder in his own right, and the Outs Above Average and UZR/150 public metrics favor his glove at shortstop over Correa’s over their careers. There is no question that Correa should be able to translate well to the hot corner, thus improving the Mets’ defense as well as the impact he will bring to the lineup.
With Correa now the new third baseman, Eduardo Escobar suddenly exits the starting job. It wasn’t even 13 months ago that Escobar was one of New York’s big signings for the 2021-22 season, as he signed a two-year, $20 million deal. Escobar was decent if not spectacular, hitting .240/.295/.430 with 20 homers for a 106 wRC+ over 542 plate appearances in his first year in Queens.
However, “Decent, if not Spectacular” wasn’t enough for a team looking to win, and so Escobar could now join Luis Guillorme as depth of field. It stands to reason that the Mets could explore trading Escobar (and the $10 million left on his deal) to a team in need of a reliable veteran player, or New York could simply keep Escobar as an injury backup option. Correa or the starting second baseman Jeff McNeil.
Looking further down the depth chart, the top prospect Brett Betty is also third base as is Mark Vientos (Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the seventh best minor leaguer in New York’s farm system). Batty has gotten some time as an outfielder and could now be seen as a possible replacement for Caña in left field, while Vientos may be destined to move away from third base anyway, and first base could be his final spot on the field. With Correa now locked in at the hot corner, however, there’s a good chance the Mets could trade any of these prospects for another upgrade.
Today’s news is the latest twist in a career riddled with controversy for Correa, which largely stems from his involvement with the 2017 Astros team that won the World Series championship, which was later overshadowed by a sign-stealing scandal. Correa’s time in Houston ended when he signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins last winter, though the shorter-than-expected contract was intended to prompt a return to free agency. Correa had opt-out clauses after both the 2022 and 2023 campaigns, and he exercised that first waiver to re-enter the market in an offseason that wasn’t interrupted by the lockout.
Correa hit .291/.366/.467 with 22 homers over 590 plate appearances in his lone season in Minnesota with a 140 wRC+, the third-highest of his eight MLB seasons. Coming off a strong pitch and still being younger than most free agents when they hit the open market, Correa had every expectation of finally getting the expensive long-term contract he originally wanted last year.
The result was two expensive, long-term contracts with the Mets swooping in to pry Correa away from the Giants. It’s probably wise not to fully assume Correa’s contract with the Mets is a done deal until the physical is complete and an official announcement is made, given the surprising nature of the last 24 hours. Reports of yesterday’s delay certainly raised red flags about the status of Korea’s agreement with San Francisco, but in the absence of any concrete news, there was still no reason to believe that Korea would not eventually end up in the Bay Area. .
Instead, the Giants’ winter plans have now taken an almost inexplicable setback. The Giants fell to an 81-81 record in 2021 after a 107-win season, leaving president of baseball operations Farhan Zaid to look for a major acquisition. San Francisco has plenty of salary cap space and plenty of needs around the roster to accommodate at least one new superstar, and there seemed little doubt the Giants were lining up the first true blockbuster signing of Zaidi’s four-year tenure.
Aaron Judge Obviously, the priority was heading into the offseason, and the Giants reportedly offered Judge about $360 million before the AL MVP would take the same salary on a nine-year deal to re-sign with the Yankees. With Judge off the board, San Francisco then turned to the shortstop market, where Correa became their top target (ahead of Turner, Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson) worth $350 million, the deal represented the largest contract in franchise history and a strong counter to the argument that the Giants’ front office was unwilling or unable to land high-profile free agents.
It’s not quite true that the Giants are back to square one, because they also signed Mitch Haniger, Ross Striplingand: Sean Manea in free agency, and Joc Pederson retained through a qualifying offer. but Carlos Rodon left the team to sign with the Yankees as well, removing another star from the 2022 roster. The league-wide rush to sign free agents has left the market open for most top names, and so Zaydi and company now have to explore the trade market (and possibly make some tough decisions on trading top prospects) to acquire. another big ticket star….if one is even necessarily available.
Speculatively, the Giants could try to manage their salary cap space in a different way, perhaps offering a deal for both a star player and an unwanted contract to a team looking to cut costs. With Opening Day more than three months away, the Giants still have plenty of time to make moves, and yet it’s hard to imagine them making additions anywhere close to Korea’s level.
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