When Carlos Correa agreed to only one mega-deal — the Giants’ $350 million, 13-year deal — Mets owner Steve Cohen lamented to the Post about missing out on Correa (for the first time. ), he said, “There’s always going to be another free agent.”
A few days later, it looked like free agency might be Correa. But sadly, this is not the case. Cohen really liked what Correa brought — the glove, the personality and the extra bat, which he felt was “needed” — and he must have been disappointed by the disagreements over his physical issues and how to get through. The contract language addresses this differential change. But there will be more opportunities, which is the beauty of free agency and having a net worth that rivals some smaller nations.
Unfortunately, the timing here is not great. When Correa agreed to his third deal—the $200 million, six-year Twins deal—the remaining free agency contained no stars in their prime, let alone superstars. Cohen is a big game hunter and it’s fun to guess who’s next. some thoughts:
The Padres are expecting him to exercise his right to opt out, especially after the way they and others have paid top free agents this winter. He had a good relationship with manager Buck Showalter during his Baltimore days.
He probably shouldn’t be number two on any list, but there are concerns about whether he’ll make it to New York. When he was first freed five years ago, he told Ohtani bluntly that he didn’t want to be here, one baseball executive said. (his agent says that was a long time ago and tastes have changed, but of course they hope he’ll consider Cohen’s team for negotiating purposes, which is going to be crazy for the best player in the world anyway .) The Dodgers seem ready to bid on Ohtani, and bids should be at least in the $500 million range.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
There’s another Padre rumored to be a potential trade bait (the Padres say they won’t buy him). I’d say stay away from him until he can prove he’s more reliable. Great flashes are nice, but not at this rate. His $340 million deal, which coincidentally inspired Francisco Lindo’s $341 million Mets trade, was heavily repurchased.
He’s a terrific defender and, like Machado, could be a third in free agency with Eduardo Escobar’s contract expiring after 2023. Still, his offense has lagged the past few years.
He’ll be the top pitcher on the market next year (unless you count Ohtani as a pitcher, which might even be the case), he’s young, he’s clutch. Do not ignore.
He’s begging to be traded, and maybe he will be. But the crosstown Yankees, Marlins and others are better suited. He’s a very good player but doesn’t have the cachet of Correa.
Corbin Burns, Brandon Woodruff
There’s no real indication that either will be traded, or that the Brewers will send one to the Mets.
One thing people wonder is why the Mets didn’t just give Correa the $200 million, six-year deal he eventually signed with the Twins. After initially agreeing to $315 million, it seems like a good deal that maybe the Mets will regret not doing, but it likely comes down to taxes and a desire to keep AAV (average annual salary) relatively low.
Cohen famously told me that the relatively little extra money he spent (for him) “made a difference,” but in the end, everyone got in line, including him. Cohen pays 90% tax (Steve Cohn tax), so $33 million is actually $63 million per year. Correa is really good. But is he that good?
The twins below the tax threshold paid just $33.33 million in salary and had no additional taxes. So if they end up with a deal, Cohen will pay double.
For those who thought Cohen had no limits, we may finally have found it.