The Mets’ shocking middle-of-the-night deal with superstar Carlos Correa isn’t over yet, but he’s not yet close to death either, at least not by mid-afternoon Saturday.
Not yet, not even after the Mets became the second team to report Correa’s medicals.
The Mets and Correa are said to be working on things Saturday in an effort to make Correa a Met a reality. And both sides seem to really want it to work, which is quite possibly the most important fact, probably even more important than anything seen on Correa’s somewhat mysterious medical that has now given two teams pause. It is apparently an eight-year-old injury that has not required any treatment since.
We already know that Mets owner Steve Cohen — the man who turned the Mets into an all-star team at an unprecedented price tag ($380 million and counting) — wants it to work. His excitement came through cellphone lines from Hawaii early Wednesday morning (just after dinnertime there).
“We needed one more thing,” Cohen told me early Wednesday, “and that’s it.”
Well, Correa the rest.
There are no more superstars in the free agent market. Cohen said he wanted to be opportunistic, and that hasn’t changed. When the Giants called for not moving forward with their own deal with Correa — the 13-year, $350 million deal — Cohen saw the opening he was looking for, closing the $315 million deal. dollars over 12 years in four or five wee hours. It’s hard to imagine that Cohen’s interest in Correa has changed, and whatever’s left on the market now only represent incremental changes.
We know that Correa wants to do this deal as well. He went to the Giants after his agent Scott Boras tried to work out a deal with the Yankees which revealed Correa’s interest in coming to New York, even if it meant a little less money. Indications are that he was thrilled with the late interest from the Mets, although he kept his commitment to complete the deal with the Giants. Either way, Correa always seemed like a perfect fit for New York, with his charming personality and impressive big-stage experience (18 career playoff home runs!).
It’s unclear exactly what two teams reported in medicals, but it’s believed to be linked to a lower leg injury and surgery eight years ago, long before he came into his own like a star player in the major leagues. Correa has not received any treatment in the past eight years for the leg injury, Boras told writers in New York on Thursday.
If nothing else, it’s a surprising and unusual concern considering he’s proven to be a very reliable player, missing an average of just 14 games over the past three seasons.
The contrast is even stranger: Many habitually injured players are undergoing medicals, including former Met Jacob deGrom, who has led the league in MRI scans for the past two years while missing more than half of his starts. .
The Mets and Correa (aka Boras) side are said to be working on the issues right now, and there’s still reason to believe they can fix it. While the Mets and Boras never surpassed what was seen on medicals for first draft pick Kumar Rocker, a left-handed Vanderbilt pitcher who was a relatively small matter. (Rocker eventually underwent shoulder surgery and was signed for slightly more money a year later by Rangers, who also picked him in the first round.)
Regardless, there is a history of resolving medical issues when parties are motivated. Boras worked with the Red Sox when they reported a foot problem on JD Martinez’s medicals, and they ended up writing new protective language into the contract while also giving Martinez an additional opt-out option, which he ultimately did not use. This hiccup happened during spring training when the teams were motivated to close the deal.
Although this one happens earlier, both parties should be equally motivated to figure this out. Beyond that, Correa wants to be in New York on a winner, the shortstop market has thinned to include his former Twins team, which offered around $285 million over 10 years, and very little others who would enter this financial stratosphere.
Cohen also seems excited about the deal. Cohen saw Correa as the only remaining hitter who could impact a fine roster that only showed average punching last year (not to mention a proven performer in October who could help a team that is fell flat in October after a regular season of 101 wins).
“It was important,” Cohen told me around 3 a.m. Wednesday from Hawaii. “It puts us above.”
Without Correa, Cohen wondered exactly how much the Mets had improved despite the record payroll. He also understood that with Correa joining Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Edwin Diaz in this all-star team, this is a team that will attract as much attention in the summer as it does in the winter.