Mets agree to Carlos Correa deal: where he fits into the lineup, what he does for the payroll, and more

In what was already an unprecedented spending spree in sports for a team with record salaries, Mets owner Steve Cohen had another huge deal left: the midnight deal for Carlos Correa.

Correa agreed to a 12-year, $315 million deal with the Mets, hours after it was reported that announcing his deal with the Giants had been delayed due to unresolved medical findings from his major league physical sources confirmed to the athlete. The transaction is pending physical. For New York, he is expected to play third base.

Here’s a breakdown of why Correa’s addition is important, what it means for the Mets’ payroll in 2023 and beyond, as well as what the lineup will look like.

Why was this necessary?

Mets are going for it. And going by that, anything short of appearing in the World Series with the highest payroll in baseball would be a disappointment. If you are determined to build the best team money can buy, it only makes sense to go after the best player available.

The Mets have to be commended for what the Mets have accomplished so far this winter in terms of rebuilding their staff. But remember, Cohen is a fan, too. And one big problem from last season remains with fans: What about the lineup? To be clear, the offensive upgrade is no weird wish. The Mets were good offensively. However, regression is possible and they still have room for improvement.

Last season the Mets finished third in the World Rally Championship (116). With the re-signing of Brandon Nemo two weeks ago, the Mets could at least be expected to get things going again with a lineup adept at working pitchers, reaching out and getting to base. However, their group faded down the stretch and they were limited to one hit in the elimination game of their wild card series against the Padres. While the Mets finished eighth in running backs (. 412), they fell behind playoff teams like the Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers, and Braves in this category. The Mets have only hit 171 home runs, which puts them in 15th place. Trying to lengthen the lineup, especially with someone who can provide more energy, was a worthwhile endeavor.

What’s wrong with Korea’s body?

Cohen did something else unorthodox: He acknowledged the deal before it was official, telling the New York Post, “We needed something else, and this is it.” Teams never say anything about a reported trade until a player goes through physical and it becomes official. the reason? As one former executive said, it is difficult to undo a deal if the club finds a problem on the financial side. Up until that point, the Giants had announced a press conference on Tuesday, but never said what it was for.

It’s unclear what Corea’s medical problem is with the Giants, but it’s clear that the Mets expect to finalize their deal with him. They swooped in and signed because they seriously pursued him last week before he agreed with San Francisco, like the athlete first reported.

The Mets went through a similar situation in reverse during the 2021 dealings with Kumar Rocker, who, like Correa, is a client of Scott Boras. The Mets selected Rocker 10th overall in the 2021 draft and the two verbally agreed to a contract. But medical concerns following the draft caused New York to fall back.

What will Korea add?

Correa has never hit more than 26 home runs in a season, but he routinely hits 20 to 25 home runs and scouts say that since he’s still in his prime, it’s likely only a matter of time before he turns 30. Years. Correa is well versed with analytics and his stats match his intelligence. In 2022, he finished in the top 7 percent for xwOBA or base-weighted average. He hits balls hard, finds barrels and walks.

The Mets had a cumulative WRC+ third baseman of 102, nearly the average. Eduardo Escobar had the month of September with a 0.982 OPS — the best month of his career — to cement that figure. Escobar finished with solid numbers—106 wRC+, .726 OPS—but Correa would be quite the upgrade at the position.

Over the past two years, Correa has hit .476 – the third basemen in that time period with a better slugging percentage are only Rafael Devers (.530), Austin Riley (.529), Jose Ramirez (.526), ​​Nolan Arenado (.. 513) and Manny Machado (.511).

Over the past two years, Correa has .842 OPS—the third on base player in that time period with better OPS are only Riley (.887), Devers (.885), Ramírez (.881), Machado (.867) and Arenado (. .848).

Over the past two years, Correa has 136 wRC+ – third base in that time period with the best wRC+ being only Riley (139), Ramírez (138), Devers (137) and Machado (137).

Where does this put the Mets payroll?

The Mets’ total salary draft was approximately $495 million. This figure includes a tax penalty that alone would cost more than $110 million. No team in baseball has ever had a salary exceeding $350 million.

Just consider where things were for the Mets just a few years ago under their previous ownership, led by Fred and Jeff Wilpon. New York’s salaries from 2015 to 2019 did not reach $160 million.

Korea’s $26.2 million AAV would be the fourth-biggest for the Mets, behind Max Scherzer ($43.3 million), Justin Verlander ($43.3 million) and Francisco Lindor ($31.9 million).

Before the off-season spending begins, the athleteTim Britton’s movie has projected eight years and $260 million. Britton used Machado—a former guard who moved to third base—and his deal with the Padres as a comparison. That was before long-term contracts this winter became mainstream. The expected Britton deal gave Korea an average annual value of $32.5 million. It would have been loud, even for the Mets. Earlier this winter, deals like Trea Turner’s 11-year deal with the Phillies worth $300 million (US$27.2 million) and Xander Bogaerts’ 11-year deal worth $280 million (US$25.4 million) with the Padres were likely. With the idea of ​​extending the length for luxury tax purposes, which means less AAV.

When told of the Mets’ interest in Correa last week and asked to predict the contract, industry sources indicated it wouldn’t be shocking to see the term go up to 13 years. This is the height that the Giants offered him for $350 million (US$26.9 million). The Mets’ offer of a 12-year, $315 million contract puts Korea in a similar AAV.

What about money in the long run?

Yes, they could still sign Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is slated to be a free agent after the 2023 season, and as long as Cohen remains the owner of the Mets, New York should be considered the favorite to land him. The Mets’ deal with Korea shouldn’t change that.

For the Mets, a long-term contract with Correa made sense. They were resilient. And Correa will probably be a star to watch for a while.

After their decisions this winter, the Mets were already on track to at least cross the first level of the threshold in 2024, too — even if Scherzer chooses, total AAVs for players on guaranteed contracts are already $205 million, and that’s just nine players.

That 2024 total number also doesn’t take into account that by the end of 2023, Ohtani will be one of the few free agents the Mets might want to add. Nor does it reflect the amount the Mets pay Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil either through their final year of arbitration or in related extensions; Both are set to become free agents after the 2024 season.

By 2025, the Mets’ secured AAV commitments to Lindor, Correa, Nimmo, Starling Marte, Edwin Díaz, and Kodai Senga will total approximately $127 million.

They only have Lindor, Correa, Nimmo, Diaz and Senga signed after 2025 – and Diaz and Senga can opt out of their respective deals after the 2025 season.

What will the 2023 lineup look like?

Finally, the Mets have secured solid protection for Alonso – whichever way the lineup looks.

Here’s a guess based on facing the right starting pitcher:

CF Brandon Nemo (left)

3b Carlos Correa (right)

SS Francisco Lindor (junior)

1b Alonso House (R)

RF Starling Mart (R)

Toby Jeff McNeil (left)

LF Marc Kanha (right)

Daniel Vogelbach (left)

C Omar Narvez (left)

The standings could go a few different ways — Marte could hit second, for example, with Correa moving into fifth — but these are the nine most likely. Against a left-handed starting pitcher, the Mets can start Tomas Nido at catcher and use key hitter Eduardo Escobar at DH, among other inside options.

At the bottom of the list of considerations, adding Correa would give the Mets great protection a short distance behind Lindor. Louis Gillorm, who missed time last summer with a groin injury, is a formidable defender at any position on the field and was once the Mets’ second-best option at shortstop.

What could happen next?

Mets will make the trades.

Catcher James McCann, who owes $24 million for the next two seasons, is an obvious trade candidate — and that was true even before the Mets signed Narváez earlier this week. Escobar was the expected third baseman before Correa arrived, so he could be on the move as well. The Mets could also potentially trade starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, but that would subtract from their depth. At one point, a rival executive said they were quietly exploring deals for Marte as well, but dealing him would be a huge blow to their lineup, and the Mets are clearly trying to win.

With the left side of field locked out for the long haul, will the Mets be more motivated to take on potential prospects Brett Baty or Mark Vientos? They both play third base, but they can also play left field and DH. The Mets could still use some outside depth and it wouldn’t be surprising if they looked at a further sequel to the Taurus. For Cohen’s Mets, no promotion should be considered unrealistic.

At this point, Cohen offers no indications whatsoever that cost matters. Whatever deals the Mets make from here on, they must be designed to continue to enhance their chances — and expectations — of winning the championship.

(Top photo Carlos Correa: Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today)

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