Source: Daily News
Reports: Carlos Correa changes course, agrees to join Mets for $315M The Associated Press %%item_date%% %%item_source%%
By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer

In a wild twist overnight, Carlos Correa has agreed to sign with the New York Mets hours after his pending deal with the San Francisco Giants fell apart, according to media reports.

The New York Post, citing anonymous sources, was first to report late Tuesday night PT that the prized free agent agreed to a $315 million, 12-year contract with the big-spending Mets, subject to a medical evaluation – which became an issue with the Giants.

ESPN also reported the terms of Correa’s agreement with New York, citing an anonymous source.

“We need one more thing, and this is it,” Mets owner Steve Cohen told The Post from Hawaii. “This puts us over the top.”

Cohen and Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, negotiated the deal together in Hawaii, according to The Post.

Presuming Correa’s deal with the Mets is finalized, he will team up with good friend and fellow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor, who signed a 10-year, $341 million extension in April 2021. The expectation is that Lindor will remain at shortstop, and Correa will move to third base.

“This really makes a big difference,” Cohen told The Post. “I felt like our pitching was in good shape. We needed one more hitter.”

The Giants postponed a news conference Tuesday morning to introduce Correa after a medical concern arose during his physical, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Giants had not announced publicly any details regarding Correa’s $350 million, 13-year agreement, not even that Tuesday’s availability was scheduled in order to introduce him.

One person confirmed that Tuesday’s conference to welcome Correa was put on hold because the sides were awaiting the results of testing. A second person said a medical issue was flagged during Correa’s physical.

Boras said there was a “difference of opinion” over Correa’s medical evaluation with the Giants, The Post reported.

Correa and the Giants agreed on Dec. 13 to the massive deal, subject to a successful physical, according to one of the people. Correa has been placed on the injured list seven times during his eight-year career, but he seemed set to end his career in San Francisco and become the star the franchise would build around for years to come.

The media availability had been scheduled for 11 a.m. PT at Oracle Park, but it was called off about three hours before it was to take place. The Giants did not provide an explanation as to why.

It was not clear if the sides had discussed renegotiating Correa’s agreement.

New York was in talks with Correa and still pursuing him just before he agreed to sign with the Giants, The Post reported.

“We kind of picked up where we were before and it just worked out,” Cohen told the newspaper.

New York won 101 regular-season games last season, the second-most in franchise history, and lost to the San Diego Padres in three games in the wild-card round.

With Correa’s deal, the Mets have committed more than $800 million to free agents this offseason. They brought back center fielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz on nine-figure contracts and signed starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana, relievers Adam Ottavino and David Robertson and catcher Omar Narvaez. Their competitive balance tax payroll now projects to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $380 million. The fourth and final threshold of the luxury tax, commonly referred to as “The Steve Cohen Tax,” is at $393 million for the 2023 season.

Correa, the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year, has a .279 career batting average with 155 homers and 553 RBIs in eight big league seasons. He slashed .285/.366/.476 with 48 home runs and 156 RBIs in 284 games with the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins over the past two seasons. The two-time All-Star and former Gold Glove Award winner also has been a stellar postseason performer with 18 homers and 59 RBIs in 79 games.

Just about the only knock on Correa’s resume is durability. He has played at least 150 games in a season only once because of assorted injuries. Correa battled injuries to his thumb, back and ribs from 2017 to 2019, a three-year stretch in which he averaged just 98 games per season, but he has still accumulated 31.3 FanGraphs WAR (wins above replacement) since his rookie season.

Correa was a free agent one year ago after leaving the Houston Astros, and he reached a $105.3 million deal with the Minnesota Twins. That agreement gave the two-time All-Star the right to opt out after one year and $35.1­ million to hit the market again.

The 28-year-old Correa terminated his deal and went back on the free-agent market.

Correa’s guarantee from the Giants would have been the fourth-largest in baseball history. Mike Trout got a $426.5 million, 12-year contract with the Angels, Mookie Betts has a $365 million, 12-year agreement with the Dodgers and Aaron Judge is getting $360 million for nine years to remain with the New York Yankees.

Correa, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and All-Star shortstops Trea Turner (now with the Phillies), Xander Bogaerts (now a Padre) and Dansby Swanson (now a Cub) have now attained a combined $1.4 billion in total guarantees this offseason.

Correa hit .291 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in his one season with Minnesota. He was selected by Houston with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, and he played a key role in the Astros’ rise from the bottom of the AL West to the franchise’s first World Series title in 2017, a championship was tainted by a sign-stealing scheme. Correa has been lustily booed in some cities since the scandal surfaced.

Brandon Crawford, a three-time All-Star, has been the Giants’ shortstop since 2011. Crawford, who turns 36 next month, slumped to a .231 average with nine homers and 52 RBIs last season while dealing with injuries, down from a .298 average with 24 homers and 90 RBIs in 2021.

Crawford has a $16 million salary in 2023, then can become a free agent. He has dealt with injuries in recent seasons and might consider retirement at the conclusion of his deal, so the Giants were searching for a shortstop of the future.

The Giants went 81-81 last season, a year after winning a franchise-record 107 games and the NL West.

AP Baseball Writers Janie McCauley and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.