Carlos Correa’s camp renewed contact with at least another interested team or two beyond the Mets on Thursday as negotiations over proposed contract language changes in the agreed-upon $315 million, 12-year deal ran into at least a hiccup or two.
There was decent hope for two weeks that Correa and the Mets could finalize the agreement, with a few alterations, and Correa’s camp had limited discussions to the Mets until Thursday. But two weeks into the discussions, the unresolved issues have at least led Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, to check in with other teams. The incumbent Twins, who know Correa best and offered close to $285 million over 10 years, were one of the teams in some contact with Boras.
It isn’t known how serious those talks with outside teams may be, but one Mets person, who said he was aware Correa’s camp was at least touching base with others, still struck a note of faith that the Mets would get it done when he predicted, “Ultimately, I don’t think Mr. Cohen is going to let him go,” referring to club owner Steve Cohen.
This latest twist has at least added extra intrigue to a situation that everyone had agreed was likely to lead to a deal with the Mets, perhaps as early as by the end of this week, even after they raised an issue regarding Correa’s right ankle in medicals following the agreement.
The sides have recently become ensconced in a discussion about contract language the Mets believe is necessary to mitigate their risk related to the ankle. Boras previously agreed to changes in contract language to resolve potential health or soundness issues on deals involving JD Drew, JD Martinez and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, but the discussions were said to be “sticky” Thursday.
The Mets cited an issue regarding Correa’s lower leg/ankle in his medical a couple days after their stunning $315 million, 12-year agreement. General manager Billy Eppler and top Mets lawyers have been handling the bulk of the talks over the last two weeks, but Cohen is the one who made the deal with Boras in the wee hours of Dec. 21 from Hawaii, where he was vacationing — is believed to be at least peripherally involved now, which should be a positive sign.
The latest word was that while the main terms — the $315 million over the 12 years — may be unlikely to change much, if at all, the Mets have made clear they are intent on diminishing their risk via important language additions and/or alterations, according to sources familiar with the talks. The Mets are concerned about the lower leg due to an injury when Correa was in the minors, and subsequent operation performed in 2014. While he has missed no days in the majors related to that incident, and according to Boras received no related treatment either, like the Giants before them Mets doctors have raised concerns about how the leg will hold up over a contract that would extend until he’s 40 years old.
The Mets have been seeking to protect themselves in case the area of concern flares up presumably by making some part of the $315 million deal less than fully guaranteed. The sides would need to work out exactly how many injured list days or other factors may allow the Mets to convert some part of the deal to non-guaranteed dollars.
There is a fair amount of precedent with past players, including notable Boras clients, who have had contracts revised before becoming official to protect teams against previous injuries recurring.
In 2018, the Red Sox signed Martinez (a Boras client) to a five-year, $110 million contract that was only finalized after new contract language offered Boston salary relief over the final two seasons if Martinez spent a certain amount of time — reportedly more than 60 days or 12 days in any season — on the injured list with a Lisfranc (foot) injury.
In 2007, JD Drew signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Red Sox that didn’t become official until 52 days after the deal had been agreed to. The altered deal reportedly allowed the Red Sox to void either of the final two years of the contract if Drew spent a specific amount of time on the IL because of his surgically repaired shoulder.
Similar provisions of protection for the team were also included in contracts for Rodriguez (with the Tigers in 2004) regarding past back issues, and Magglio Ordonez (with the Tigers in 2005) regarding his surgically repaired knee, both of whom also counted Boras as their agents. It is not believed that the potential dollars of the deal were altered in any of those cases. In none of the cases did the previous injury flare up, allowing the team to ease its financial burden.
In the case of Correa, both sides would seem to have a strong interest in completing the deal. Correa was reportedly very excited upon hearing that a Mets deal had been worked out several hours after the snafu occurred with the Giants deal, to the point of jumping on Boras in the San Francisco hotel room where they had been awaiting the Giants/Correa press conference. that was ultimately postponed, then canceled. And Cohen sounded thrilled upon agreement of the deal, telling The Post in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, “We needed one more thing, and this is it.”
It is the enthusiasm of both sides that keeps hope alive that the Mets and Correa will finally resolve this. But the new twist has at least added suspense to the proceedings.