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EXPLAINER: How Correa Lost Giants Deal, Ended Up with Mets

December 22, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO — Fans of the San Francisco Giants spent a week reveling in the good news: Carlos Correa was coming to the Bay Area, lured by a megadeal worth $350 million over 13 years.

And then, just like that, the two-time All-Star was gone, poached by the New York Mets and deep-pocketed owner Steve Cohen.

For fans of both teams, it was a stunning, topsy-turvy 24 hours. San Francisco woke up Tuesday morning expecting the Giants to introduce the 28-year-old in black and orange. Then the news conference was canceled without explanation.

When The Associated Press reported a few hours later that there had been a medical concern flagged during Correa’s physical, fans elsewhere — but especially in New York — began licking their chops.

The next shoe dropped while most fans were asleep. Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, had quickly gotten to work finding new suitors, and New York’s $315 million, 12-year offer was enough to attract Correa to the Big Apple instead.

News of Correa’s agreement with the Giants broke Dec. 13. Here’s a look at how that deal never came to pass.

FILE – Minnesota Twins’ Carlos Correa reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)

WHAT HAPPENED TO CORREA’S $350 MILLION CONTRACT WITH SAN FRANCISCO?

The Associated Press reported on Correa’s late-night agreement with San Francisco after baseball’s winter meetings, citing a person familiar with the negotiations. The person was granted anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced by the team.

That practice is common in baseball. News of big free-agent signings frequently breaks when an agreement is reached, but teams and players rarely confirm the deal until the ink is dry on the contract. And all player contracts are subject to physicals. Usually, those exams are treated as a formality. Occasionally, a real issue arises.

The Mets dealt with their own physical hiccup in 2021, when they declined to sign first-round draft pick Kumar Rocker over concerns with his medical scans.

But never has a free agent of Correa’s ilk had an entire deal scrapped like this.

“The Giants throughout indicated that they wanted to negotiate further with Carlos, and we understood that,” Boras said. “We negotiated with teams for 12 hours and we never heard from the Giants during that time.”

Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations, issued only a brief statement Wednesday.

“While we are prohibited from disclosing confidential medical information, as Scott Boras stated publicly, there was a difference of opinion over the results of Carlos’ physical examination,” Zaidi said. “We wish Carlos the best.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE GIANTS?

It’s yet another big free-agency whiff for Zaidi’s front office. Another tough winter for the jilted Giants and their increasingly impatient fan base, too. San Francisco went 81-81 last season to miss the playoffs a year after a franchise-record 107 wins and an NL West title.

The Giants were determined to create some long-term stability in the middle infield and might be reeling from this blow for a while. Zaidi has taken heat for failing to land a top free agent, and San Francisco already swung and missed on Aaron Judge this offseason — he was re-introduced by the New York Yankees on Wednesday after finalizing a $360 million, nine-year contract.

San Francisco has veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford signed through 2023, but he has hinted this could be it. He also has dealt with injuries in recent years and was limited to 118 games last season.

Correa was to be his heir apparent and the face of the franchise for the next decade-plus.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE METS?

Cohen is going for it like no other owner has done before.

A year after the 101-win club lost in the NL wild-card round to San Diego, the Mets feel they’ve added the missing piece to make them a World Series contender — thanks to Cohen’s ability to foot the bill.

Correa’s addition, pending a successful physical, would increase the Mets’ luxury tax payroll next year to $394 million, putting them on track to pay a record tax of about $120 million — nearly triple the current high of $44 million set by the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers. The estimates would change if Correa’s deal contains deferred money or if New York trades players.

Correa would cost the Mets $49.88 million next year in salary and tax, if there is no deferred money in the deal.

The Mets’ offseason haul has also included bringing back outfielder Brandon Nimmo on a $162 million, eight-year deal, adding AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander on an $86.7 million, two-year contract and signing Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga on Saturday to a $75 million, five-year deal.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The top shortstops are signed, leaving limited choices remaining on the market. Trea Turner joined the Phillies and Xander Bogaerts signed in San Diego.

The Chicago Cubs introduced their new shortstop, Dansby Swanson, on Wednesday after he finalized a $177 million, seven-year contract.

Cubs President Jed Hoyer has learned to never get ahead of himself, and like so many others, he was shocked to hear of the Giants’ about-face. He wouldn’t address San Francisco’s situation directly.

“Medical processes, I feel like in this job over time you start never thinking about anything until … not only are you in the end zone, but like they’ve done the review process and the booth has confirmed it,” Hoyer said. “I just think you don’t celebrate until things are done, in part because we’ve all, if you do this long enough, you end up a part of a situation where what seems to be done may not be.”

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