Realize that Mets owner Steve Cohen is in a position to spend and do it wisely. Realize that the richest owner in baseball, known to a Mets fan base as “Uncle Stevie”, stands among the elite in the business world because he knows how to spend.
And this Mets owner knows how to spend wisely and avoid the risks. That alone speaks for the Carlos Correa contract that never came to fruition because of another failed physical due to concern regarding a right ankle that was surgical repaired a number of years ago.
So I went back 20 days ago. Cohen and the Mets appeared to land the free agent that would put them at the top. Cohen easily went above the salary threshold and Correa would shift positions and play third base.
Looked all good with the Carlos Correa name in the lineup. Looked good with Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and NL batting champion Jeff McNeil. And it looked good for a Mets fans base seeing their owner throwing a record amount of money all over the place.
But late Tuesday morning, Cohen and his Mets hierarchy changed their minds and did not want to risk a Correa $12-year, $315 million deal that was never signed. The Giants also said no deal with 13-years and $350 million.
And the Minnesota Twins, they got back in. Correa and his super agent, (Scott Boras) returned to where this started last year, the Twins who saw him opt out. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The Twins should know the concern with Correa about an injury that two other teams felt uncomfortable to take a risk.
Nevertheless, common sense for the Mets. And how ludicrous will this look if the Twins decide to continue this drama and reaffirm a risk about a previous injury that could be detrimental to a lucrative and long term deal? But that will not be the case. The Twins and Correa came to terms on a six year, $200 million dollar deal. The contract features four vesting options, based on plate appearances that, if reached would make it a ten-year, $270 million dollar deal. The Mets wouldn’t be swayed, even with, what appears to be an amiable relationship between Cohen- super agent Scott Boras, that yielded lucrative contracts to pitcher Max Scherzer and outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
Boras, according to reports, would not budge on a restructured Correa contract to the Mets, rejecting a stipulation of a yearly physical and Cohen was looking at an investment that, as he said, would put them at the top.
An investment that could have worked for both parties, but the risk was the proper decision to KO the deal. And Steve Cohen is not one to shy away from taking a risk or spending money this offseason with a spending spree of $477.1 million with the idea to enhance the Mets’ chances as a World Series team.
But, without Correa, and with the spending spree, the Mets are still a favorite to play deep in October. Remember, as I stated here last month, with or without Correa, the Mets won 101 games last season.
Manager Buck Showalter putting the name Carlos Correa in his lineup made those Mets chances even better, pending of course all the other trials and tribulations that span the course of a 162-game season.
Those trials and tribulations are known as injuries and grinds that change a complexion of more than one team whether it’s in April, or the important stretch in September. Correa was the Mets answer to the Phillies and Braves, two teams that are part of a dominant NL East that is considered the best division in baseball. Two teams who also bolstered their rosters by signing youngsters to longtime contracts. The Braves acquired catcher Sean Murphy from the A’s and signed him to a six year, $73 million dollar extension and the Phillies (via free agency) with the addition of shortstop Trea Turner ($300 million, 11 seasons).
So Carlos Correa gets a reported $42 million less from the Twins with a different deal and knowledge of concerns with the right ankle. Once the Mets balked at the concerns, it was obvious the Twins would be the lone team willing to take on a contract.
One high ranking NL executive informed me they had hesitations at exploring at making an offer to Correa, and two teams’ physicals reaching the same conclusion was the obstacle.
Correa was always comfortable in the Twin Cities, and perhaps he would have been perfect for the Mets in New York with a strong Latino influence of fans that have embraced Francisco Lindor and his high profiled contract,
Regardless the Mets will soon get over this drama as will their rabid base of fans long awaiting a championship. The Steve Cohen Mets will move on and they are built to win, though for the owner, it was Correa and Lindor as his top two.
A six year deal for Correa and the Twins, opposed to the 13 and 12 the Giants and Mets negotiated. For the Mets it certainly leads to questions but in a positive direction.
Without a Correa mega contract, Cohen and the Mets will remain over that salary threshold but there is room to do more and probably at lower cost. In other words, with or without Correa, there’s more to be done.
Now that continued offseason movement will continue with a possible lower tier free agent or the old fashioned trade. No secret the Mets are still in the hunt, and more now for a potent bat to upgrade the designated hitter spot in their lineup that was a failure last season.
Another bullpen arm, possibly Zach Britton would be the perfect lefthander to set up Edwin Diaz. It leaves Eduardo Escobar as a viable third baseman and a youngster, Francisco Alvarez, an opportunity to shine.
Regardless, Mets fans should be content. Without Carlos Correa, they will play in October. And we know more now that Steve Cohen will spend but will do it with caution.
They took a loss with Correa, but with a hierarchy in command that continues to make the right decisions, and the richest owner in baseball, that is a win for the Mets.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and co-host Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube