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Carlos Correa Is (Reportedly) Headed to Queens

On December 13th, the San Francisco Giants were reportedly in agreement with free agent shortstop Carlos Correa on a 13-year, $350 million contract:

This was huge news as the Giants had seemed dead set on making a big splash in free agency this offseason.

Like all reported deals, nothing becomes official until there is an announcement from the organization about the signing. The Giants hadn’t made any announcements about the signing of Correa. The only announcement that came from the organization was the scheduling of a press conference for December 20th.

It was presumed the press conference was going to be Correa’s introduction to the Bay Area. The press conference was oddly postponed. What happened afterwards sent the baseball world into a frenzy while most people were asleep.

Series of Events

On December 20th, the Associated Press reported Carlos Correa’s introduction to the San Francisco Giants was called off. The postponement was due to a medical concern stemming from Correa’s physical.

That report surfaced just after 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. In the article, it was reported the press conference was set to take place at Oracle Park at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The Giants did not give an explanation as to why the presser was cancelled.

At the time, there was no indication that the deal between the Giants and Correa would fall apart. It seemed as though it could take a little while longer for the contract to be made official as both sides attempted to rework the terms of the deal.

Less than 12 hours after the Associated Press report, Jon Heyman broke the news that Correa was in agreement with the New York Mets on a 12-year, $315 million contract just after 2 a.m. on the East Coast:

Many people are speculating as to what the issue could have been with Correa’s physical. He has dealt with plenty of injuries throughout his career and has only played in 150 or more games once.

Susan Slusser, who covers the Giants for the San Francisco Chronicle, put out this thread of tweets:

There have been reported contracts that have ended up not being completed due to concerns over, or failures of, physicals. We haven’t seen anything quite like Correa’s situation, though.

We have never seen a reported $350 million contract for one of the game’s best players fall apart in the middle of the day, and then 12 hours later in the middle of the night, had that same player come to an agreement on a massive contract with an entirely different franchise.

Nothing New

The Giants have become all too familiar with missing out on signing some of the game’s top talent.

There was a very brief period of time during the Winter Meetings where it looked like they were bringing Aaron Judge to San Francisco. That didn’t happen as he returned to the New York Yankees by signing a 9-year, $360 million contract.

A few years ago, San Francisco was interested in signing Shohei Ohtani. He ended up in Los Angeles with the Angels. Before that, they were in pursuit of Bryce Harper, who signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Both players would go on to win MVP awards in 2021.

Missing out on Correa, when the Giants seemed ready to open up their checkbook, might be the worst situation of them all. After their failed pursuit of Aaron Judge, the Giants focused on Correa, and in doing so, the rest of the top players available, such as Carlos Rodon and Dansby Swanson, signed elsewhere.

What Does This Mean?

For the Giants, it means they will have to go back to the drawing board. Especially if they want to add star power to their roster. As previously mentioned, there aren’t anymore superstar players left in free agency.

A trade for a superstar is unlikely as teams usually aren’t willing to give up that type of player for cheap. The Giants don’t boast a highly ranked farm system heading into 2023.

Correa would have been the icing on the cake for the Giants this offseason. They signed outfielder Mitch Haniger to a 3-year, $43.5 million contract. The Giants also signed pitchers Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea to 2-year, $25 million contracts.

For the Mets, it means they add another star to their roster as they continue to spend money like we’ve never seen before. Correa joins a deep roster that currently includes Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander.

The Correa contract will bring the Mets’ spending this offseason to just above $800 million:

Steve Cohen, the owner of the Mets, has made it public that he wants to win a championship and is willing to spend a lot of money to do just that. He is making good on his promise.

For the 2023 season, the Mets currently have the highest projected payroll in the majors. They will be spending nearly $500 million on their roster after including the penalty they will pay by exceeding the luxury tax thresholds:

With the reported agreement between Correa and the Mets, the already loaded National League East will easily be the most talented, and competitive, division in the game.

The Braves have a great young core locked up for years to come. The Phillies have constructed a deep lineup alongside a talented starting rotation. The Marlins have a young pitching staff headlined by 2022 National League Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara. The Nationals aren’t likely to be a playoff team in 2023, but they have some intriguing young players to keep an eye on in the new year.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this entire situation will be remembered for years to come.

Here is the the Giants’ statement on what transpired:

It is safe to say this series of events will always be one of the strangest things to happen during free agency. Very rarely do deals the size of this one between a player and organization fall apart when it seems all but official like it did between the Giants and Correa.

Nevertheless, from here on out, whenever a deal between a player and organization is reported, fans everywhere are likely to err on the side of caution by saying, “Hey, nothing is official yet. Remember what happened with Carlos Correa?”

Featured Photo: Twitter / @CitiField

Bailey Digh

I've been writing for Diamond Digest since July 2022. I'm also currently a contributor for Phillies Nation. You can find me on X @bailey_digh.

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