Mets, Carlos Correa mum on status of negotiations after holdup
Carlos Correa remained at the North Pole on Monday, his destination as a late gift for some deserving recipient still unknown.
Neither the Mets nor the All-Star shortstop’s camp would say whether discussions had resumed following a presumed break on Sunday for Christmas, after concerns arose over Correa’s physical last week. The two sides reached agreement on a 12-year deal worth $315 million, contingent upon Correa passing his physical.
At issue is a right ankle injury Correa sustained in the minor leagues that led to the Giants nixing a 13-year deal with the shortstop worth $350 million.
There is optimism a deal can still be completed between Correa and the Mets, with one source on Monday placing the likelihood at 55 percent that the two sides find common ground. Among the possibilities is added contract language that would protect the Mets from financial responsibility if Correa’s pre-existing condition sidelined him for an extended stretch. Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, worked out a similar contract clause with J.D. Martinez following a five-year agreement with the Red Sox for $110 million.
But the belief is Correa — whose strong preference is to play for the Mets — isn’t open to restructuring the length or financial terms of the contract. At least three teams have been in contact with Correa’s camp in recent days, but Correa remains committed for now to trying to finalize his deal with the Mets.
Correa underwent arthroscopic surgery after fracturing his right fibula and sustaining ligament damage sliding into third base as a minor leaguer in 2014. In his eight seasons in the majors, Correa has not been placed on the injured list with a right leg injury. But Correa has dealt with other ills that sidelined him in recent seasons, including back injuries that forced him to miss significant time in 2018 and ’19.
It could behoove both sides to strike a compromise: the Mets can’t simply target another big bat on the free-agent market, with those options having evaporated. And from Correa’s perspective, does he need the drama of a third agreement and physical this winter? Also, what kind of leverage would Correa have in negotiations? The Twins (who had him last season) weren’t shy in offering Correa a 10-year deal for $285 million, but that was before his two flagged physicals.
The interested parties during this delay include Eduardo Escobar and Luis Guillorme, one or both of whom could be traded if Correa’s deal with the Mets is completed. Correa would play third base for the team, with his friend Francisco Lindor staying at shortstop.
If Correa isn’t signed, the Mets could still try to trade with the Red Sox for Rafael Devers, but that is hardly the preferred course for an organization looking to retain prospects and build a formidable farm system.
Correa, 28, wasn’t on the Mets’ radar until late in his free agency. Team owner Steve Cohen told The Post’s Jon Heyman that the Mets needed another bat, after adding arms in Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, David Robertson and Adam Ottavino, with Brandon Nimmo as the only significant offensive piece to show from an offseason in which the payroll for 2023 surpassed the $350 million plateau (which doesn’t include another $75 million in penalties for exceeding the top tier of the luxury-tax threshold). After the Giants delayed on finalizing their agreement with Correa following his physical, Boras called Cohen on vacation in Hawaii and struck a late-night deal.
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