Carlos Correa never even got a chance to say hello to the Mets, but Tuesday it was goodbye.
Almost three weeks after owner Steve Cohen pounced at the opportunity to secure the All-Star shortstop — pending a physical — Correa reached agreement with the Twins on a six-year contract worth $200 million. Correa will have an opportunity to receive an additional $70 million over four vesting years with the Twins, based on plate appearances.
Correa’s right ankle — which sustained damage during his minor league career — ultimately became a point of contention between the player’s camp and the Mets. The team had sought contract language protection should Correa’s ankle prevent him from fulfilling his deal. The Mets’ original agreement with Correa was for 12 years and $315 million. After examining Correa’s physicals, the Mets were willing to guarantee $157.5 million over six years. The deal would have included another $157.5 million, in non-guaranteed money, over six years if Correa reached certain benchmarks in plate appearances and innings in the field.
Correa must pass an overall physical with the Twins for his deal to become official, but the team had already signed off on the ankle issue that scuttled the two previous contracts.
The Mets could have outbid the Twins with a shorter-term contract, but Cohen was committed to a longer deal that would lower the contract’s annual average value, which has luxury-tax implications.
Correa’s agent Scott Boras and Cohen reached initial agreement on the contract in the early morning hours of Dec. 21 (after the shortstop’s deal with the Giants failed to materialize because of ankle concerns).
The Giants originally reached agreement with Correa on a 13-year deal worth $350 million — after the Mets were late to the negotiating table — but the team pulled out, canceling a scheduled press conference to announce his signing because of concerns about his physical. Correa, who underwent surgery in 2014 to repair a fractured right fibula and ligament damage, has a metal plate implanted near the ankle that helps stabilize the leg.
Though Correa hasn’t missed action in his major league career due to leg or ankle injuries, the player admitted to experiencing numbness in the area after sliding into second base on an attempted steal late last season.
After Correa’s deal with the Giants fizzled, Boras called Cohen, who was vacationing with his family in Hawaii, and swiftly struck a deal with the Mets. The Post broke the story, with Cohen saying: “This really makes a big difference. I felt like our pitching was in good shape. We needed one more hitter. This puts us over the top.”
Correa opted out from his contract with the Twins after last season, in which he owned a .291/.366/.467 slash line with 22 homers and 64 RBIs. He spent the first seven seasons of his major league career with the Astros, winning a tainted World Series title with the team in 2017 amid a sign-stealing scheme.
The Mets would have shifted Correa to third base, giving the team a dynamic left side of the infield that includes Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Now it’s probable the Mets will revert to their original plan and stick with veteran Eduardo Escobar and rookie Brett Baty as the third-base options. One or both likely would have been traded if Correa was signed, although Baty has played outfield in the minor leagues.
Even without Correa aboard, the Mets have a projected payroll of $357 million for competitive balance tax purposes. That figure excludes another $87 million penalties for exceeding the CBT’s top threshold.
Cohen’s offseason haul has included adding free agents Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana and David Robertson in addition to re-signing Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimmo and Adam Ottavino.