Carlos Correa agrees to deal with New York Mets, stunning Giants


In one of the most stunning offseason twists in recent baseball memory, Carlos Correa will now be a New York Met, not a San Francisco Giant, when spring training begins in seven weeks.

A week ago today, Correa agreed to a 13-year, $360 million megadeal to join the Giants and serve as a worthy consolation prize after their failed pursuit of hitter Aaron Judge. But on Tuesday, the Giants postponed a press conference they had scheduled to introduce Correa. And as of early Wednesday morning, Mets billionaire Steve Cohen had made his move and agreed to pay Correa $315 million over 12 years, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Giants canceled Correa’s press conference over medical concerns, and a person familiar with Correa’s situation said the Giants resigned over a doctors disagreement — though the details of those opinions and the exact medical concerns involved were not immediately available. Correa’s deal with the Mets is also pending investigation, and New York’s front office isn’t exactly known for turning a blind eye to medical concerns either. But if that deal goes through, they will add a second premiere shortstop to a lineup that already features Francisco Lindor.

According to a person familiar with the situation, Correa is expected to play at third base. Two of the best shortstops to ever come out of Puerto Rico, he and Lindor are more than familiar and, on the surface at least, seem to share a mutual respect. They now seem likely to share a city, a uniform, and an ultra-rich boss who has pledged the duo more than $650 million over the next decade.

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Correa’s deal will net him about $26 million annually, about what the Giants deal would have paid him annually, albeit less guaranteed. This Giants deal made Correa the highest-paid shortstop in baseball history in terms of total money guaranteed. The Mets deal could make him one of the better-paid third basemen in baseball history when the dust settles.

But specifically for Major League Baseball as a whole, that $26 million annually will push the Mets’ payroll to about $380 million for competitive accounting tax purposes. Not only is that number outrageous, even by New York baseball’s lavish standards, but it will ultimately come with more than $90 million in tax revenue. If Cohen quits now, he’ll spend nearly half a billion dollars on the 2023 New York Mets — or about what the Pittsburgh Pirates have spent on their entire rosters since 2016. highest opening-day payroll and tax bill of around $290 million slated for 2023 early Wednesday morning. Your projected tax bill is less than $30 million.

Ironically, it had only been nine months since New York Mets ace Max Scherzer and Major League Baseball Players Association leadership urged union members not to vote for a collective bargaining agreement they felt was specifically aimed at it aims to stop Cohen from spending that much money. That deal, which her peers eventually agreed to, included an unprecedented fourth-tier competitive balance sheet tax threshold that became known as the “Cohen Tax.”

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Previous collective agreements contained only three tax thresholds, with progressively higher penalties for exceeding them. By implementing a fourth, Cohen’s less wasteful peers hoped to stop anyone from doing what some have dubbed “spending sprawl,” which could theoretically force everyone else to spend more to keep up. This year’s Cohen threshold has been set at around $290 million. He flew right past it.

If the deal goes official and a few extra caveats can be forgiven given the dissolution of Correa’s Giants tenure, the Mets will be the star-studded lineup in a loaded division that has many of them. The National League Champion Phillies added Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker and more to their already proven October crew. 2021 World Series champion Atlanta Braves traded for one of the better catchers available before running Dansby Swanson to the Chicago Cubs.

But in the last week alone, the Mets brought in Justin Verlander and Japanese starter Kodai Senga to join Max Scherzer in a veteran rotation. They’ve already jailed old friends Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo for deals worth more than $100 million each. Their lineup continues to consist of thug Pete Alonso, troublesome title contender Jeff McNeil and veterans Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar from a group that nearly beat Atlanta to the National League East title in 2022. This 2022 lineup lacked power. Correa, who debuted in the big leagues at the age of 20, has hit at least 20 home runs in six of his eight seasons in the big league.

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Free-agent deals like this always seem to get leaked before the physical exam is complete. The common understanding between executives, agents and players boils down to the assumption that for elite athletes at this level – especially non-pitchers – the physical exams are a formality. But it’s worth noting again that Correa still hasn’t passed his Mets exam, even though his old team, the Minnesota Twins, reportedly offered a franchise recording contract just a week ago.

Back then, Correa seemed destined to be the brightest star in San Francisco since Buster Posey, maybe even Barry Bonds. Back then, he seemed like just the kind of player who could soften the blow for the Giants, who fell short in their much-discussed pursuit of California native Judge. On Tuesday, the Giants should introduce this star to a rejuvenated fan base. On Wednesday, they will watch the Yankees introduce Judge at a press conference still scheduled for early this morning.

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