It has now been more than two weeks since Carlos Correa and the Mets agreed to terms on a 12-year contract. That came within hours of his deal with the Giants falling through because of the club’s concerns with his physical. New York took similar umbrage with Correa’s right leg during their own examination a few days later, however, leaving one of the market’s top free agents in something of a state of limbo.
Since the Mets expressed concern about Correa’s physical a few days before Christmas, the organization and the two-time All-Star’s camp have maintained ongoing optimism about their ability to work through the issue. For the last two weeks, Correa’s representatives at the Boras Corporation had solely been in contact with the Mets as they worked to finalize the deal. That’s apparently changing now, as Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that Boras engaged at least one other team regarding Correa this afternoon.
To be clear, that’s not to say Correa is moving on from the Mets. Indeed, they still seem his likeliest destination. A Mets official expressed confidence to Heyman they’ll still get the contract done even with Correa opening talks with at least one more team. Andy Martino of SNY similarly tweeted this afternoon the Mets and Correa’s camp were continuing to work on a resolution.
Nevertheless, it’s a notable development that another club is at least peripherally back in the mix. The Post’s Mike Puma reported last week that at least three other teams had reached out to Correa in the wake of the physical snag with the Mets. Correa didn’t engage in those discussions at the time, so today’s development marks a notable change in his camp’s tack.
Heyman writes today the Twins are one of the clubs that have tried to reengage Correa at some point over the past couple weeks. Minnesota maintained throughout the offseason they were hoping to bring him back after his lone season in the Twin Cities. They reportedly made a ten-year, $285MM offer earlier in the winter, but that fell shy of both the $350MM the Giants were originally set to guarantee Correa and the $315MM the Mets had put on the table. According to multiple reports, Minnesota didn’t up that offer between the time the Giants deal fell through and his agreement with New York. Whether the Twins still have a $285MM offer on the table isn’t clear, although it stands to reason they’d have some concerns of their own about the status of Correa’s leg until/unless they conduct a physical as well.
Minnesota still has a vacancy at shortstop, with stopgap veteran Kyle Farmer looking to be the current favorite at the position. Which other teams could be involved is unknown. Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters last week it was unlikely the club would circle back to Correa. The Braves and Red Sox each lost star shortstops in free agency this winter, though neither was tied especially strongly to Correa at any point in the offseason. Atlanta seems unlikely to make a massive free agent strike, while Boston just agreed to terms with Rafael Devers on a $313.5MM extension yesterday.
The Orioles were loosely linked to Correa at one point but never seemed to seriously make a run at a top-of-the-market free agent. The Padres, Phillies and Cubs each turned elsewhere in free agency for a star shortstop and the Dodgers reportedly had little interest in Correa thanks to his ties to the 2017 Astros.
All things considered, it’d appear the Twins would be the strongest competition for the Mets. That’d seem to be contingent on talks with New York falling apart. Heyman characterizes those discussions as “sticky” but there’s no suggestion they’re at a dire point.
Multiple reports in recent weeks have suggested the Mets are looking to add language that’d allow them to get out of part of the contract if Correa suffers a serious right leg injury. Puma first reported a week ago such a concept was under discussion. Ken Rosenthal reiterated that on The Athletic’s podcast on Tuesday, suggesting the deal would require some kind of modification to protect the Mets in case of injury.
Heyman echoes those reports, writing the Mets are insistent on including some kind of injury provision. According to Heyman, the club doesn’t want to make any major changes to the base 12-year, $315MM structure. They do, however, apparently want to build in a manner of lowering that guarantee and/or allowing them to get out of the contract early in the event Correa spends a certain amount of time on the injured list with a right leg problem specifically. How long such an IL stint would have to be and how many years or dollars could be voided in the case of an injury would have to be agreed upon by both sides, and it seems those issues are holding up the contract’s finalization.
That kind of clause is rare but not entirely without precedent. As an example, fellow Boras Corporation client J.D. Martinez altered his deal with the Red Sox over the 2018-19 offseason after the team flagged a foot issue during his physical. The sides moved forward with their agreed-upon five-year, $110MM framework but included stipulations that would’ve allowed the Red Sox to opt out of the final two years of the contract in the event Martinez suffered another foot injury that resulted in a lengthy injured list stint (as reported by Evan Drellich, then of NBC Sports Boston). Martinez never suffered a serious injury and wound up playing out the five-year deal before hitting free agency again this winter.
The Mets continue to try to work out a similar provision in this case. Where the winding saga will go next is to be determined, but it’ll remain the offseason’s main storyline until Correa officially signs a contract somewhere.
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