The Free Agency Dance of Carlos Correa

Oh, he was so sought after. One of the best shortstops available after the 2022 season, Carlos Correa had a lot of teams willing to pay an unfathomable price to secure his services. They came, they pitched, they waited as he and his agent, the very talented and very much loathed Scott Boras, pored over every offer until they made their decision.

Attention President of Baseball Operations of the San Francisco Giants Farhan Zaidi, we will graciously accept your team’s offer and come play for your fabulous team. Giants fans (I am one) were elated (not all of us).

We got Carlos Correa! The Dodgers killer! We’re off to the World Series again!

As Giants fans we generally aim higher. Frankly I don’t give a fuck whether any single player does well against the loathsome Dodgers, but some do. And he did well, very well. In the 2017 playoffs when Correa was an Astro (when they won their first World Series CHEATING against the Dodgers), his slash line was .289/.326/.561. For the season he was .315/.391/.550. Pretty lofty numbers.

Now if the name Carlos Correa doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps a bang-bang of your trash can might.

Wait… is that… yes. Yep, Carlos Javier Correa Oppenheimer, Jr (seriously that is his full name) is a big-time cheater. If you are thinking “Did these Astros cheat the entire season?” YES THEY DID and Carlos was one of the ringleaders. During the 2017 season – and the playoffs (plus also into the 2018 season) – he and some of his teammates created a cheating system wherein they stole signs via an illegal camera system and knew the opposing pitcher was going to relax and fire an off-speed pitch? BANG! BANG! Went the trash can lid to let their teammate know it was coming. Does it help knowing what pitch is coming? Hell, yes it does. It helps a poor-ass amateur hitter like me with my God-awful swing. Imagine what it can do to help a professional.

OK, so back to the dance. The San Francisco Giants signed him for 13 years and $350 mildo guaranteed. This word ‘guaranteed’ is where this gets sticky. Mr. Correa had surgery on a fractured right fibula and a ligament in 2014. Seems like a long time ago, however… guaranteed money means the Giants would like a bit of security rolled into the contract. What if Carlos Correa has an accident and his ankle goes out while he’s banging a trash can lid? What happens then? As such, the Giants requested more time to think about it.

NO MORE TIME said an insistent Scott Boras.

We just need assurances…
NO.
But…
NO. We will find another team!

And they did. The New York Mets, who threw cash around like a drunken Powerball winner this season (6 free agent signings including Justin Verlander and Japanese sensation Kodai Senga) jumped at the chance to land Carlos Correa. The Mets owner, Steven Cohen, was elated. He bragged about how they just jumped in there and ‘stole’ Correa from the Giants for 12 years at $315 mildo. Yes, it went south just a little from the Giants offer, but hey now he’s a Met!

And Giants fans? Pissed… not all of them, but a lot of them. Twitter was aflame with how the Giants were being cheap, didn’t care about their fans, blah blah and more blah. Mr. Zaidi was being roasted on social media. Me? I’m thinking “too bad, but it’s Carlos Correa, the cheater who also signed with the Twins last year with a one-year out clause and he took it to try for a cash grab.”

Meanwhile in New York? Oh, they were dancing. To them, adding Carlos Correa meant, well to a lot of their fans and their owner, they may as well start figuring out the World Series victory parade route. Done deal.

Except when it’s not. The Mets brass were giddy as hell, but the Mets medical staff said “hey hold up on your enthusiasm you C-Suite suits. We have some questions about that ankle”… uh huh.

As such, the Mets said “Mr. Boras… Mr. Correa… we need more time.”

NO MORE TIME said an insistent Scott Boras.

We just need assurances…
NO.
But…
NO. We will find another team!

And so they did. What team? Back to the Minnesota Twins.

Look over there it’s a camera… not for cheating… never for cheating! (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

They’ll do anything to field a decent team. They came in third last year in the piss-poor AL Central and have only signed from free agency Christian Vasquez (A respectable 2023 slash line of .274/.315/.399) and the Joey Gallo (.160/.280/.357/OUCH) this off-season and desperately needed a bat, even one that probably comes with its own deluxe metal trash can… complete with lid.

So, Carlos Correa is back where he came from last year, in Minnesota playing at Target Field… with a contract of … 6 years and $200 million with a max out of $270 million over 10 years. As such, despite his gaudy 2022 contract ($35 million – Jesus H Curveballs), he actually did BETTER by going back to the Twins. I’m not sayin’ but I’m sayin’ it smells like the Twins were pretty damn desperate.

The moral to this dance is this: if you are a Giants or Mets fan you ought to be super happy your team was cost-conscious enough to request some caveats written into the contract. Especially if you are a Mets fan. This is the same team that released Bobby Bonilla after the 1999 season. They owed him $5.9 million but instead decided to pay him $1.19 million every July 1 from 2011 until… wait for it… 2035 when he will be 72 years old. Math, as some have said, is hard.

For what it’s worth, I am happy to be a fan of a team that has enough stones to call someone out over a concern which, if I were the player, I would have enough confidence to modify a 315-million-dollar contract. Not Carlos though. Carlos, upon re-signing with the Twins “It was a lot of challenges thrown at us throughout the whole process. But at the end of the day, Boras got me to a place where I’m happy, where I feel right at home.”

If only he could have seen it coming, you know, like a trash-can banged-out off-speed pitch.

How does the dance end? We shall see how this plays out, but right now from a money perspective, it has turned into a combined tale of greed and desperation for one Carlos Correa.

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