NEWS Mets express interest in star free agent Carlos Correa

The Athletic

By Ken Rosenthal, Dan Hayes and Andy McCullough

A surprising new team in Carlos Correa’s sweepstakes — or maybe not so surprising, considering the amount of money the New York Mets have already spent this offseason.

Yes, Steve Cohen may be at it again.

Cohen’s Mets have expressed interest in Correa, according to sources familiar with the team’s thinking. Correa, 28, will likely play third base for the Mets alongside his fellow Puerto Rican native shortstop Francisco Lindo.

“I would say there was some smoke,” one Cosmopolitan said. “I’m not sure how big the fire was, though.”

Mets general manager Billy Eppler declined to comment. While a full-on pursuit of Correa might feel far-fetched given the size of Correa’s expected payday and the Mets’ already profligate spending this winter, Cohen has expanded the parameters of what the owner might spend.

Steve Cohen (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Correa acquisition is another stunning addition to Cohen, whose team has already signed pitcher Justin Verlander, center fielder Brandon Nemo and three others in the offseason, according to Fangraphs. Free agency, pushing his luxury-tax salary to nearly $350 million. Add in free throws, and the Mets’ total salary would be about $421 million, by far the most in major league history.

For all of Cohen’s investments, people familiar with his thinking say the owner still thinks the Mets need more offense, prompting the team to explore the market not just for Correa but for players like JD Martinez and Michael Conforto.

Correa is the No. 1 active free agent, and he could spend another $30 million-plus per season, possibly less on average per year if he signs a deal longer than 10 years — according to sources Said, this is a possibility. Two other free-agent shortstops, Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts, signed 11-year contracts worth $300 million and $280 million, respectively.

The Mets won’t be the only ones chasing Correa. The Minnesota Twins see him as their primary target, and the San Francisco Giants are believed to be among them. After missing Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, the Giants are under intense pressure to find a franchise pillar they can build around.

As the offseason began, many executives viewed Correa as the most compelling player on the market because of his prodigious talent, relative youth and ability to stick to key defensive spots like a shortstop. At the end of last week’s winter meeting — after Turner, Bogatz and Judge all signed shock deals — Correa was still the best player on the market. The Mets’ move could energize clubs like Minnesota or San Francisco to meet the demands of Correa and his representative, Scott Boras.

A two-time All-Star, Correa failed to find the long-term commitment he expected last winter. He signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins, then opted out after hitting 22 homers with an .834 OPS. Even with advanced defensive metrics stacked against him in 2022, Correa won a Platinum Glove with Houston as the sport’s best defender in 2021.

At some point, the Mets are expected to take steps to lower salaries. Catcher James McCann and right-hander Carlos Carrasco are among the players they could trade, and third baseman Eduardo Escobar could also leave if Correa joins the club. The Mets may also have to explore interest in top prospects like Brett Baty and Mark Vientos.

AthleticWill Sammon contributed to this report.

(Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Related posts

NEWS 2023 National Championship Game Predictions, Odds: Georgia vs. TCU College Football Playoff Expert Picks


NEWS Darius Myers: University of Alabama basketball player ejected from team after being charged with murder


NEWS Mets owner Steve Cohen understands the math of staying with Carlos Correa