Carlos Correa is headed to the free-spending New York Mets with a $315 million, 12-year contract after his pending deal with the San Francisco Giants came apart over concerns about an ankle injury sustained eight years ago.
The agreement with the Mets was confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical. Correa had reached a $350 million, 13-year agreement with the Giants on Dec. 13.
San Francisco on Monday announced a news conference for the following day, then called it off Tuesday morning and told Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, the team needed more time to examine medical records. Boras asked the Giants to set a deadline to finalize the deal. When a 1 p.m. PST deadline was set and passed, Boras reopened talks with other clubs.
Houston announced on June 25, 2014, that Correa had surgery a day earlier after breaking his right fibula that June 20 while sliding into third base for Class A Lancaster. The injury ended Correa’s season.
Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi confirmed Wednesday there was a concern raised during the physical.
”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 in a statement. ”We wish Carlos the best.”
Correa, an All-Star and Gold Glove-winning shortstop, would play third base for the Mets, with buddy Francisco Lindor remaining at shortstop.
”We need one more thing, and this is it,” Mets owner Steve Cohen told the New York Post, which first reported details of New York’s agreement. ”This puts us over the top.”
”This really makes a big difference,” Cohen added. ”I felt like our pitching was in good shape. We needed one more hitter.”
New York was in talks with Correa and still pursuing him just before he agreed to sign with the Giants.
”We kind of picked up where we were before and it just worked out,” Cohen told the Post.
Correa’s addition would increase the Mets’ luxury tax payroll next year to about $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.
Major League Baseball and the players’ association instituted a new fourth luxury tax threshold last winter, dubbed the ”Cohen Tax” because it was aimed at the Mets’ owner. The added threshold starts at $293 million in 2023, and the Mets will pay at a 90% rate because they will owe tax for the second straight year.
”I think having two great New York sports teams is phenomenal,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday. ”It’s phenomenal for the city. It’s phenomenal for the rivalry, and I’m all for it. I was hoping we’d both be the last two standing, but it didn’t work out that way on either of ours’ part, but hopefully it does this year.”
The Mets won 101 regular-season games last season, second-most in franchise history, and lost to San Diego in the wild-card playoff round.
Correa, the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, has a .279 career batting average with 155 homers and 553 RBIs in eight big league seasons. He also has been a stellar postseason performer, with 18 homers and 59 RBIs in 79 games.
Just about the only knock on Correa’s resume is durability. He has played at least 150 games in a season only once because of various injuries.
Correa was a free agent one year ago after leaving the Astros, and he reached a $105.3 million deal with the Minnesota Twins. That agreement gave the two-time All-Star the right to opt out after one year and $35.1 million to hit the market again.
The 28-year-old Correa terminated his deal and went back on the free-agent market.
Correa hit .291 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in his one season with Minnesota.
He was selected by Houston with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, and played a key role in the Astros’ rise from the bottom of the AL West to the franchise’s first World Series title in 2017.
The Astros’ championship was tainted by a sign-stealing scheme, and Correa has been booed lustily in some cities since the scandal surfaced.
AP Baseball Writers Janie McCauley and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.
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