3 Instant Reactions to Carlos Correa Agreeing To Mets Contract and Leaving Giants

Adam WellsDecember 21, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 13: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two-run home run as he rounds the bases against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning of the game at Target Field on September 13, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 6-3. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

The New York Mets pulled another offseason stunner late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, depending on your perspective, by agreeing to a 12-year, $315 million deal with shortstop Carlos Correa.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post and MLB Network first reported the agreement.

The move came after the San Francisco Giants, who originally agreed to a 13-year, $350 million deal with Correa last week, postponed his introductory press conference scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, the Giants were concerned about "a medical concern" that showed up after Correa took a physical with the team.

Here are a few key takeaways from Correa's new deal with the Mets after things fell apart with the Giants.

The Mets Are the Best Team on Paper in 2023

It was less than three weeks ago that Mets fans were despondent about Jacob deGrom leaving to sign with the Texas Rangers.

Bobby Wagner @bwags

I can't believe I had to make peace with the hedge fund financial crimes guy owning my team just for him to let my favorite baseball player walk lol

Sean Fennessey @SeanFennessey

Nobody talk to me.

Fast forward to Dec. 21, the Mets replaced deGrom with Justin Verlander, agreed to deals with Correa, Japanese ace Kodai Senga and José Quintana and re-signed Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo.

Assuming Correa's deal goes through, here's what the Mets lineup looks like going into 2023:

1. Brandon Nimmo, CF

2. Carlos Correa, 3B

3. Francisco Lindor, SS

4. Pete Alonso, 1B

5. Jeff McNeil, 2B

6. Starling Marte, RF

7. Daniel Vogelbach, DH

8. Mark Canha, LF

9. Omar Narvaez, C

The top eight hitters in that lineup had an OPS+ of 106 or better last season. Eight of them were at 120 or better, meaning their offensive production was at least 20 percent better than the league average.

If you want to pinpoint a potential flaw, there are fair questions that can be asked about the starting rotation. Senga draws rave reviews for his raw stuff, but it's unclear if his command and control will be good enough as a starter to get out MLB hitters.

Verlander just won the AL Cy Young award, but he's going to pitch next season at the age of 40. Max Scherzer is 38 years old and missed six weeks last season with a strained oblique.

Carrasco had a below-average ERA+ (97) last season and has allowed more hits than innings pitched in each of the previous two years. Quintana threw more than 100 innings last season for the first time since 2019.

Even if the pitching staff comes in below expectations, though, there's so much depth in the lineup that they don't need the starting five to be dominant to win a lot of games.

The Mets are the best team on paper in baseball heading into 2023. That doesn't guarantee a championship, but it does make it easier if any of those potential issues pop up during the season.

Steve Cohen is a Man of His Word

From the time his purchase of the Mets became official in November 2020, Steve Cohen has been very open about his desire to spend whatever it takes to win the World Series.

Some of Cohen's bluster makes for a good quote in a story, but none of it matters if he doesn't follow through.

Two full years into his tenure with the Mets, no one can accuse Cohen of lying about his aspirations for the franchise. He made Scherzer the highest-paid player in MLB by average annual salary last offseason ($43.3 million). Verlander matched that number with his deal this offseason.

When the Mets acquired Lindor in a trade with Cleveland in January 2021, they signed him to a 10-year, $341 million contract extension two months later. Diaz signed the largest contract ever given to a relief pitcher in November (five years, $102 million).

As ESPN's Jeff Passan pointed out, Correa's agreement with the Mets brings their total financial commitments for 2023 to nearly $500 million between payroll and luxury-tax payments:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

The New York Mets current payroll is estimated to be around $384 million. The luxury-tax payments alone will exceed $111 million. Their total payroll projects to be $495 million. <br><br>The previous max payroll in baseball: less than $350 million. Mets are at almost half a billion.

Ignoring the luxury tax part of things, the Mets' $384 million payroll is $93 million more than the previous MLB record ($291 million by the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers).

Before the agreement with Correa came together, Cohen spoke to Heyman last week about spending money to acquire talent.

"I made a commitment to the fans," he said. "If it means I have to spend money to fulfill that commitment, so be it."

Leaving aside the questionable morality of rooting for a billionaire hedge fund manager for a moment, Cohen is everything a sports fan should want from the owner of a sports franchise. He isn't afraid to spend money in the interest of winning, regardless of what it might do for the overall bottom line of the franchise.

Even if some of these contracts eventually turn into lemons because players get hurt or age out of their prime, who cares? Mets fans will happily trade it for a World Series. Cohen's net worth is estimated at $17.5 billion. He will be fine, no matter how this turns out.

Where Do the Giants Go From Here?

It's a dark time for the Giants and their fans. They came into this offseason with such high hopes because they were going to go all-out in their efforts to sign Aaron Judge.

There was even a brief moment on Dec. 6 when Giants fans thought they were getting the reigning AL MVP, or perhaps his evil twin brother Arson Judge.

Logan Webb @LoganWebb1053

Not cool man

Judge ultimately agreed to a nine-year, $360 million deal to re-sign with the New York Yankees.

While losing out on Judge did sting, there were still plenty of options available for the Giants at that point. Correa was the best of them, as a 28-year-old shortstop coming off a season in which he hit .291/.366/.467 in 136 games with the Minnesota Twins.

Not only did the Giants get an agreement from Correa on Dec. 13, but it was a team-friendly deal with a fairly low average annual salary ($26.9 million) that would have given them more flexibility to add talent around him.

The timing of things falling apart with Correa leaves the Giants in a dire situation for next season. All four of the top shortstops on the market this offseason are now off the market. One of them, Xander Bogaerts, signed with San Francisco's division rival, the San Diego Padres.

Carlos Rodón, who finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting for the Giants in 2022, agreed to a six-year, $162 million deal with the Yankees on Dec. 15.

Among the top 50 free agents this offseason listed by The Athletic's Keith Law, Jurickson Profar (No. 11) and Gary Sánchez (No. 25) are the top two players still available.

The Giants did bring in Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling to help their rotation with Rodón leaving, but they aren't top-shelf starters who are going to drastically change a team's fortunes.

If Giants fans are looking for a reason to be optimistic, they only have $77.5 million in salary commitments for 2024. Shohei Ohtani is going to be a free agent after this season.

It might be a long shot because San Francisco's roster is in such a state that Ohtani may not want to go from what has been a losing situation with the Los Angeles Angels to the Giants, but they could also offer him a historic contract that's hard to turn down.