Tuesday, May 30 2023

Carlos Correa, who just a day ago was set to be unveiled as the new face of the San Francisco Giants, is suddenly a New York Met. 

This is an absolute jaw-dropper; the shocker of the 2022-23 MLB offseason. 

Last week, Correa and the Giants agreed in principle to a record-setting 13 year, $350 million deal that would have been the richest free-agent contract in baseball history. But on Tuesday afternoon, hours before his introductory press conference in San Francisco, the Giants postponed the event. 

Rumors then emerged that the postponement was related to a medical issue the team discovered during Correa’s physical exam. Still, at no point on Tuesday did it seem that Correa and the Giants would go full Splitsville.

Until Mets owner Steve Cohen swooped in.

While most of the baseball world was sleeping, Cohen and Correa’s agent Scott Boras, hammered out the details on a new 12 year, $315 million deal. The contract, which is still subject to a medical, would push the 2023 Mets payroll over the $380 million mark with over $100 million or so in tax penalty payments New York faces for blasting past the $293 million dollar luxury tax threshold. Per Spotrac, their overall payout will exceed half a billion dollars.

It’s a remarkable twist to a story that seemed all but over and a fantastic reminder that all reported contract agreements and trades are subject to medical exams. Even though 99.99% of the time that physical is just administrative box-ticking, sometimes issues arise. Sometimes multi-billionaire owners see that as an opportunity to pull off the coup of the winter.

When you really dig into it, this is three stories in one.

1. The San Francisco Giants nixed the previously agreed-to 13-year, $350 million deal over a concern with Correa’s medical. 

There’s little reason to speculate about the specific issues San Francisco identified — Susan Slusser reported it was not a concern with Correa’s back, which has been a problem throughout his career — as that information will come out in time. But it’s fair to assume the Giants did not intend to have the medical completely derail their agreement with Correa.

Eventually Giants GM Farhan Zaidi will address the media and provide at least a modicum of clarity. The upshot: The Giants no longer have the cornerstone superstar they’ve yearned for since Buster Posey retired. This was most certainly not the plan, it’s a dreary and embarrassing day at Oracle Park.

2. Correa (and by association his agent, Scott Boras) decided to spurn the Giants and whatever their revised best offer was.

This was a done deal. Correa was in San Francisco to dot the T’s and cross the I’s before ceremonially donning his new uniform. He’d already changed his Twitter header photo to Oracle Park. Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford had already publicly conceded a move to third or second base.

But something changed when the Giants returned to Correa with concerns over the medical. A key point in this story that we do not yet know: The extent to which San Francisco revised their offer after the findings of Correa’s physical. If they tried to knock off multiple years and tens of millions of dollars it makes sense that the 28-year-old shortstop would entertain other offers.

Considering the difference between the reported Giants deal and the new Mets contract — one fewer year and about $670,000 for each existing year — one can assume that Boras saw the Giants’ change of face as an opportunity to secure the most lucrative deal for his client. 

3. Mets owner Steve Cohen appeared from out of nowhere to swoop in and sign Correa, taking his team’s effective 2023 payroll to right around half a billion dollars.

This is the headline: The sport’s richest owner smelled blood in the water and pounced, while on vacation in Hawaii, to secure the final piece of a juggernaut roster.

“We need one more thing, and this is it,” Cohen said to the New York Post. “This was important. This puts us over the top.”

On the morning of Aaron Judge’s introductory press conference, Cohen and the Mets have stolen the news cycle. It’s another indicator of these Mets acting like the George Steinbrenner Yankees, using cold, hard dough to ruthlessly build a contender.

Money, to Cohen, is no object, and while he has much more of it than the other 29 owners, his approach is a reminder that most teams could afford to run higher payrolls than they do. The billionaire bought the Mets to win a championship, not to turn the organization into a cash cow, as so many owners have done.

And so, the most expensive team in American sports history will take the field in three months’ time as a testament to Cohen’s sole focus on winning a World Series. A lifelong Mets fan himself, Cohen just wants to see his favorite team succeed; whatever it takes, whatever it costs. And fortunately for the rest of the Mets fan base, he’s the one calling the shots. 

Top stories from FOX Sports:

Jake Mintz, the louder half of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He’s an Orioles fan living in New York City, and thus, he leads a lonely existence most Octobers. If he’s not watching baseball, he’s almost certainly riding his bike. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Mintz.


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