In contract dispute, Carlos Correa, New York Mets both could lose big

Sep 30, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) receives congratulations from teammates after he hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) receives congratulations from teammates after he hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The dispute over the physical condition of Carlos Correa with the New York Mets has potential multi-million dollar consequences for both sides.

We don’t know, of course, which side is “right” in the dispute over the seriousness of the findings in Correa’s physical, both by the Mets and previously by the Giants. That information is sealed under federal HIPAA rules, and beyond that would require the judgment of a physician familiar with the particulars, of which there are few.

But we do know that Mets examiners found something in Correa’s exam that concerned them enough to slow down his signing of a 12-year, $315 million deal. That hesitation came little more than a week after the San Francisco Giants bailed on the even more costly 13-year, $350 million deal they and Correa had agreed on.

Carlos Correa has a lot to lose at this pivotal moment with the New York Mets

If he and his agent, Scott Boras, take a hard line in this dispute as has been reported, insisting there is nothing in Correa’s physical profile meriting renegotiation, they risk the New York Mets taking a page from the San Francisco Giants and throwing the shortstop back on the open market.

If that happens, Correa will bear the mark of a two-time rejectee, in both cases by teams whose concern was not financial. That reality is likely to have a significantly depressing impact on his market value.

Certainly there would be suitors, at least at the conversational level. The Yankees and Red Sox are merely two of several times with interest in upgrading their shortstop game.

But rejections by two teams for the same reason and Correa could likely bid farewell to his avowed hope of a $300 million deal from anybody. Anything negotiated with a third team is likely to be of a shorter term and less money, although possibly also studded with performance-based incentive clauses.

But the Mets also have to be careful. They signed Correa to move to third base, where last season’s incumbent, Eduardo Escobar, has been accused of under-performance after batting .240. For the moment, the team’s depth chart consigns Escobar to a backup role behind Luis Guillorme, who hit .273 with no power in part time duty in 2022.

If the Mets had to go back on the open market to find a fill-in third baseman, their options would both be long of tooth. Justin Turner and Evan Longoria both remain available, but Longoria is coming off an age 36 season in which he hit .244 in part-time duty for the Giants. Turner, who will be 38, hit .278 in 2022 for the Dodgers.

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The Mets’ website says the player and team are “working through things,” suggesting a mutually satisfactory resolution within 24 hours or thereabouts. That better happen. If Correa finds himself back on the open market a third time, it is very bad news for both player and team.