Carlos Correa was finally able to shed some light on his six weeks of contract negotiations after his six-year, $200 million deal with the Minnesota Twins was finalized this week.
The 28-year-old Correa, along with his wife Daniella and their 1-year-old son Kylo, were formally re-introduced by the Twins after he passed his much-anticipated physical on Wednesday. He expressed some shock at how it all went down with the San Francisco Giants, the Mets and finally the Twins, as well as relief with the finality of it all and excitement to be back with the organization he played for last season.
“It was not what we expected going into the offseason,’ Correa said Wednesday. “Going into the physicals, there were no concerns on my part. My body feels great. I played throughout the season and never felt better. So yeah, it was surprising.”
All involved are moving forward as spring training rapidly approaches, but there are still a few questions left unanswered.
What did the Mets and Giants see that the Twins didn’t?
Correa injured his right ankle in 2014 as a 19-year-old prospect in the Houston Astros organization. He underwent surgery and a plate was inserted to stabilize the joint. Since then, the ankle and the leg have been healthy. Correa has never spent time on the injured list with a right ankle or leg injury and said he never had any pain.
As the Daily News previously reported, what was likely found in his medical examinations by the Giants and Mets was post-traumatic arthritis and/or cartilage damage. It’s not uncommon to find arthritis or early-stage cartilage damage in a surgically-repaired joint, but it could lead to surgery within a decade. Both the Giants and the Mets were offering him contracts that spanned more than a decade and the clubs wanted to make sure his ankle would hold up throughout the length of the deals.
Different doctors can have different opinions and this appears to be the case.
The Mets consulted the Giants’ doctor after Correa took his physical in New York and came to the same conclusion. But Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, said Twins team doctor Chris Camp and Los Angeles Dodgers doctor Neal ElAttrache had examined him in 2022 and did not foresee the same issues.
Boras said doctors might be relying too much on imaging results and not enough on history and “functionality.” Either way, the Twins’ familiarity with Correa’s injury history helped get a deal done in the end.
“Guess who the Mets called because their doctor was a surgeon? Guess who the Mets called for an opinion about Carlos’ ankle? The very doctor that the Giants had called,” Boras said Wednesday in Minneapolis. “So consequently, two teams, same doctor, and yet the owner of the Mets didn’t know that. You have to have individual opinions.”
What was the Mets’ final offer?
According to Jon Heyman, the Mets were only willing to guarantee six years at $157 million and the final six would not be guaranteed. The Mets wanted language in the contract to protect them if Correa ended up on the injured list with an injury that stemmed from the issues they found on the physical. This is not uncommon, but it’s obviously not ideal for the player.
In the end, Correa took a deal with a higher AAV than what the Mets were offering, $33.3 million in each of the next six years with the Twins vs. $26.25 with the Mets in the same time frame. He has a chance to make up to $270 million with vesting options.
Is there a loser in the ordeal?
Fingers are being pointed all over the place right now. Whether or not any of it is deserving is a different question.
When the Giants called off their December press conference and Correa then came to an agreement with the Mets, San Francisco looked like the losers. The Giants were unable to pivot to another elite player this winter and instead settled for former Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. And while Conforto will be a great addition to the clubhouse, it’s unclear what he’s capable of after two shoulder surgeries and a year away from baseball.
However, when a second team had concerns over the ankle, the narrative around the Giants suddenly changed. Other teams seemed to be spooked by the ankle as well, seemingly confirming San Francisco’s initial opinion.
Some said Boras mishandled the dealings but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal talked to other agents who blamed the ankle more than the agent.
The Mets will be just fine without Correa. They have third baseman Eduardo Escobar under contract through 2023 and two top third base prospects in Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. However, owner Steve Cohen’s public comments to the New York Post could have opened him up for a grievance about the way the club handled the physical.
It doesn’t really matter who won and who lost. Correa says he’s happy to be back in Minnesota and the Mets will be a favorite in the National League. As for the Giants? They should consider it a win that the Dodgers didn’t end up with Correa.