Carlos Correa signs $200 million deal with twins
On Dec. 21, the Mets were declared by many the winners of the offseason after agreeing to terms with Carlos Correa, one of baseball’s top infielders, on a 12-year, $315 million deal. . The Mets, who have won 101 games in 2022, added a versatile superstar in what they hoped would be the final piece of team owner Steven A. Cohen’s championship puzzle.
The Mets deal, which came after Correa’s 13-year, $350 million deal with the San Francisco Giants the previous week, was “pending physical review,” contract language that is often glossed over as the “terms and conditions” on a website. .
Three weeks later however, Correa, 28, a shortstop, also backed out of that deal. On Wednesday, he agreed with the Minnesota Twins, for whom he played last season, on a six-year, $200 million deal. The deal, details of which were confirmed by staff familiar with the negotiations on condition of anonymity, was announced by the team on Wednesday.
After a physical delayed his two previously agreed deals, Correa passed Minnesota’s medical on Tuesday, which made the deal official.
Hadn’t Correa already signed with the Mets? And the Giants?
Correa’s deal with the Giants would have been the second-biggest this offseason, according to Spotrac. The one he agreed with the Mets would have been third in importance. But the two were held off after teams carried out physical exams, with concerns focusing on the long-term health of his right leg. Rather than rework those deals, Correa agreed to a contract with Minnesota that guarantees him a lot less money overall but pays him a lot more each year.
With the deal, Correa trails only the Mets’ Francisco Lindor among shortstops in average salary, but his contract is lower in total value than those agreed to this offseason by Trea Turner (11, $300 million with Philadelphia) and Xander Bogaerts. (11 years, $280 million with San Diego).
How is his new contract different?
In his new deal with the Twins, Correa will average $33,333,333 per season over six years and could increase his earnings to as much as $245 million over seven years by hitting certain benchmarks, according to the person familiar with the negotiations. There are acquisition options built into the deal to protect the team and potentially benefit the player, including those tied to playing time and where he ranks in the regular season and playoffs.
Are protections like these unusual?
Not particularly. In the past, Boras clients like Ivan Rodriguez, JD Drew and Magglio Ordóñez have agreed to contracts that contained language to protect teams after medical issues arose while continuing to pay players competitive salaries.
What did the twins say?
In a low-key announcement, Minnesota tweeted a photo of Correa in a Twins uniform with the message “He’s home”. Correa’s teammates celebrated the move on Twitter and the team are expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the contract with the media.
As for Correa, he posted a statement on Instagram ahead of his press conference:
What did the Mets say?
In an unusual move, Cohen approached the signing before it was complete – a decision he no doubt regrets.
“We needed one more thing, and that’s it,” Cohen told Jon Heyman of the New York Post the day the deal was done. “It was important. This puts us above.
Heyman later reported that the Mets sold $1 million in tickets the day the news of Correa broke.
On Wednesday, shortly after Minnesota announced its deal with Correa, the Mets released a statement: “We were unable to reach an agreement. We wish Carlos the best.
What did the Giants say?
The Giants have scheduled a press conference on Dec. 20 to introduce Correa to reporters. It was canceled that day, leading to speculation that something about his physical exam was worrying them.
Overnight, the Mets news broke and Scott Boras, Correa’s agent, brushed off any suggestion that there were health issues with Correa, telling the New York Times that “medical opinions are exactly what they are – opinions”.
The Giants then released a statement on the negotiations.
“Although we are prohibited from disclosing confidential medical information, as Scott Boras has publicly stated, there was a difference of opinion regarding the results of Carlos’ physical examination,” said the statement, which was awarded to Farhan Zaidi, team president for baseball operations. “We wish Carlos the best.”
Zaidi then addressed the issue in more detail in a conference call with battered reporters, disputing the idea that the team had blinded Correa and Boras with their concerns.
OK, is Correa hurt?
The short answer is no. The long answer is long.
Almost all speculation and anonymous source reports have focused on the condition of Correa’s right leg. In 2014, two years after Houston selected him as the first draft pick, Correa was on the rise for Class A Lancaster when an awkward slide into third base sent his spike into the dirt. Correa, who was 19 at the time, was taken off the pitch.
What was initially diagnosed as an ankle injury ended up being a fractured fibula, with what was described as a minor ligament injury. He underwent season-ending surgery five days after the injury, and Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ general manager at the time, said the team expected Correa “to be back to exactly where he was. was when he was injured”.
That certainly seemed to be what had happened. In 2015, Correa started the season with class AA Corpus Christi and was promoted to class AAA Fresno after 29 games. He also thrived there and was called up to the Astros after just 24 games at the top level in the minors. In Houston, he hit .279 with 22 homers and 14 stolen bases in 99 games and narrowly edged close friend Lindor, who was playing for Cleveland at the time, as the American League Rookie of the Year.
While Correa missed plenty of time with injuries in 2017, 2018 and 2019, none of those absences were related to his right leg. And he’s been pretty durable since, playing 342 of his team’s 384 regular-season games since the start of the 2020 season. If there are any other issues with his physical, beyond leg surgery previous, they were not reported.
So the leg wasn’t a problem at all?
Mostly. The old injury and the way it was repaired briefly resurfaced last season when Correa was playing for the Twins. On September 20, he attempted to steal second place and limped back after being tagged. After the match, he was not worried that he had seriously injured himself.
“He just hit my plate,” Correa told reporters. “I had surgery and he hit him. Just a little numb. Vibrant. So I was just waiting for it to calm down. It was a bit scary, but when I moved I knew it was okay.
Sure enough, he was back in the lineup the next day and didn’t miss a moment because of the slide.
What’s the problem then?
Extraordinarily long contracts like the ones Correa had with the Giants and Mets carry a large amount of risk and are difficult to insure. Entering one with a known issue that could limit a player’s mobility as they age would increase that risk. This is especially true for a player like Correa, who derives much of his value from his defense and athleticism.
Contract language and insurance adjustments may be included to account for the increased risk, but Boras asked Correa to walk away from the Giants when they wanted to change the terms, then walked away from the Mets as well.
The terms of the contract offered by Minnesota proved to be more acceptable to Correa and Boras.
Will the Mets make it without him?
For all the money Cohen has spent this offseason — the Mets’ payroll taxes and luxury taxes were expected to approach $500 million in 2023 — the team’s offense hasn’t improved other than Correa. That being said, third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who hit 20 home runs in his first year with the Mets, is still under contract, as is second baseman Jeff McNeil, the NL batting champion last season. . And Lindor, although not as strong a defender as Correa, had to stay at shortstop the whole time.
So not signing Correa is a blow for the Mets, but it doesn’t really leave them with a hole in their roster.
Is it worth all the fuss?
In the short term, yes. Correa has never completed 30 home runs or completed 100 runs in a season. He has never stolen 20 bases or won the Most Valuable Player award. But he’s proven remarkably valuable when healthy thanks to his consistently strong batting average, ability to draw walks, good base running and defense.
In the three seasons in which he played at least 130 games, he compiled 7.0, 7.2 and 5.4 wins over replacement, according to the Baseball Reference formula. These numbers are on the cusp of MVP-level play. Because of his all-around play, Baseball Reference considers him baseball’s most valuable shortstop since 2015, although he has played far fewer games than Lindor and Bogaerts, who are second and third on that list.
It’s not about talent, or leadership, with Correa. The risk for the Twins is all about Correa’s body’s ability to hold out for the duration of a contract. Ultimately, that risk was too great for the Giants and Mets.
David Waldstein And Tyler Kepner contributed report.