2:51pm: According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN, a deal with the Mets is still “likely”, although he reports that the contract could be reworked considering the issue. While it’s not known what a reworked contract would look like, it could include altering the duration or financial guarantee of the contract, or rewording it to alter the amount of guaranteed money Correa makes should he miss a period of time due to the specific leg ailment which is causing concern. Rogers adds that there is not a timetable in place to resolve the matter.
10:56am: Carlos Correa’s physical with the Mets has “raised concerns”, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes of The Athletic. Per the report, the concern centers on Correa’s surgically repaired lower right leg. Correa has agreed to a 12-year, $315MM deal with the Mets just days after a 13-year, $350MM deal with the Giants fell through over concerns over the physical.
While it’s jarring to hear given the events of the past week, it’s unclear yet what this means for the status of the deal. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the two parties are currently trying to work through the issue.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has already addressed the deal, telling Heyman earlier this week that “we needed one more thing, and this is it”. That’s particularly significant as, per The Athletic’s report, addressing the deal on the record could make it trickier to back out of the agreement, although there’s nothing to suggest that’s what the Mets are looking to do.
It’s been a fascinating turn of events in Correa’s free agency over the past week. Generally, reported agreements pending a physical have become official without a hitch, but Correa’s has now hit a snag on two separate occasions in the space of a week. Further, he’s one of the top free agents this winter and had agreed to deals worth in excess of $300MM. Correa had agreed to a long-term contract with the Giants on December 13, but that fell over on Monday after the Giants reportedly asked for more time to look into the medicals after finding something that gave them pause. However, agent Scott Boras quickly pivoted and went to the Mets, who quickly agreed to their own long-term deal for $35MM less than the original Giants agreement.
Boras sought to re-engage with the Twins as well after the Giants deal fell through. Per The Athletic’s report, they’d offered him a ten-year, $285MM deal but would have put a greater emphasis on a physical before that deal than the deal he signed with Minnesota earlier in 2022, given the long-term nature of the proposal. The report also adds that after Correa became available again, the Twins were unwilling to alter their initial proposal, and would have wanted to investigate the issues raised in the player’s physical with the Giants.
The Giants have been quiet on the matter. HIPAA laws restrict them from disclosing clear answers about the precise nature of the injury, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi did offer a statement: “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. We wish Carlos the best.”
The Correa camp has denied any cause for concern. Prior to undertaking his physical with the Mets, Boras said “there is nothing with him that is currently any sort of medical issue,” via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. He also added that the Giants were trying to use a “crystal ball” to try and predict Correa’s long term health (via Laura Albanese of Newsday).
Various reports have mentioned Correa’s right leg as the source of concern for both the Giants and Mets. Back in 2014, a teenage Correa fractured his right fibula and sustained minor ligament damage while playing in High-A in the Astros organization. That injury required arthroscopic surgery to repair. Correa has missed time for thumb, back and rib issues in the big leagues, but the right leg has never sent him to the injured list in his eight big league seasons.
It is worth remembering that only a few years ago the Mets did pull out of a deal with a player. In 2021, they drafted Kumar Rocker 10th overall and agreed to a $6MM signing bonus, before abandoning the deal after growing concerned by something they saw in the physical. Of course, backing out of a $6MM deal for draft pick and a $315MM contract for an All-Star are two different things, and Cohen’s comments certainly give confidence that a deal can still go through in some form.
It’s the latest twist in what has been a tumultuous time for Correa on the open market. He was the top free agent after departing the Astros last year, but after the long-term deal he sought didn’t eventuate he took a three-year, opt-out laden, $105.1MM deal with the Twins. After earning $35.1MM last season and putting up another strong season he opted out and hit the open market for the second-straight winter. The long-term mega deal he’d been seeking looked to have finally come to fruition when it was reported the Giants had agreed to a 13-year, $350MM pact. That deal fell through, but Correa was able to quickly land a $300MM+ deal with the Mets. While there’s every chance a deal with New York still goes through, there’s at least some doubt now hanging over it.