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

In what had already been an unprecedented spending spree in sports for a team with a record payroll, mets owner Steve Cohen had one more massive signing left: a midnight deal for Carlos Correa.

Correa agreed to a 12-year, $315 million contract with the Mets hours after it was reported that the announcement of his contract with the Mets giants was being postponed due to unresolved medical results on his physique, big league sources confirmed to the athletic. The deal is pending a physical exam. For New York, he is expected to play third base.

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of why Correa needed to be added, what it means for the Mets’ roster in 2023 and beyond, plus what the lineup might look like.

Why was this necessary?

The Mets are going for it. And in trying, anything short of a World Series appearance with the highest payroll in baseball history would be a disappointment. If you’re intent on building the best team money can buy, it only makes sense to go after the best position player available.

What the Mets have accomplished so far this winter in terms of rebuilding their pitching staff is to be commended. But remember, Cohen is also a fan. And there was one fair gripe left from last season with the fans: What about the lineup? To be clear, an offensively upgrade is not some fancy wish. The Mets were good offensively. That being said, regression is possible and they still have room for improvement.

Last season, the Mets finished third in wRC+ (116). Upon re-signing brandon nimmo Two weeks ago, at least the Mets were projected to pick things up with a lineup adept at throwing pitchers, making contact and getting on base. Still, his group faded down the stretch and was held to one hit in the elimination game of their wild-card series against the Fathers. While the Mets finished eighth in slugging (.412), they trailed playoff teams like the cardinals, Phillies, dodgersY Bravos in the category. The Mets hit just 171 home runs, ranking them 15th. Trying to lengthen the lineup, particularly with someone who can provide a little more power, was a worthwhile effort.

What’s up with Correa’s physique?

Cohen did something more unconventional: He acknowledged the deal before it was made official, telling the New York Post: “We needed one more thing, and this is it.” Teams never say anything about a reported deal until a player passes a physical and becomes official. The reason? As one former executive said, it is much more difficult to back out of a deal if a club finds a problem with physique. Until then, the Giants had announced a news conference for Tuesday, but never said what for.

It’s unclear what Correa’s medical issue was with the Giants, but the Mets obviously hope their deal with him is finalized. They swooped in and made the signing happen because they seriously hounded him last week right before he settled with San Francisco, like the athletic first reported.

The Mets went through a similar situation in reverse during their 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 post-draft medical concerns caused New York to back out.

What would Correa add?

Correa has never hit more than 26 home runs in a season, but he routinely hits 20-25 home runs and scouts say that since he’s still in his prime, it’s probably only a matter of time before he hits 30 one of these. years. Correa is well versed in analysis and his stats match his intellect. In 2022, he finished in the top 7 percent for xwOBA, or expected weighted average on basis. He hits balls hard, finds barrels and takes his walks.

The Mets at third base had a cumulative wRC+ of 102, around average. edward escobar he had a sizzling September in which he posted a career-best .982 OPS to boost that figure. Escobar finished with solid numbers: 106 wRC+, .726 OPS, but Correa would be a big upgrade at the position.

Over the past two years, Correa has slugged .476; third basemen in that period with a better slugging percentage are just Raphael Devers (.530), austin riley (.529), Jose Ramirez (.526), Nolan Arenado (.513) and Manny Machado (.511).

Over the past two years, Correa has an .842 OPS — the third basemen in that span with a better OPS are only Riley (.887), Devers (.885), Ramírez (.881), Machado (.867) and Arenado (.848).

Over the past two years, Correa has a 136 wRC+ — the third basemen in that span with a better wRC+ are only Riley (139), Ramírez (138), Devers (137) and Machado (137).

Where does this put the Mets payroll?

The Mets’ total payroll is projected to be around $495 million. That figure includes a tax penalty that alone will cost more than $110 million. No baseball team has ever had a payroll greater than $350 million.

Just consider how things were for the Mets just a few years ago under their previous ownership, led by Fred and Jeff Wilpon. New York’s payroll from 2015 to 2019 never reached $160 million.

Correa’s $26.2 million AAV will 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 low season expenses began, the athleticTim Britton’s Tim Britton projected eight years and $260 million. Britton used Machado, a former shortstop who moved to third base, and his contract with the Padres as a comparison. That was before long-term contracts this winter came into vogue. Britton’s projected deal gave Correa an average annual worth of $32.5 million. That would have been high, even for the Mets. Earlier this winter, deals like Trea TurnerXander Bogaerts’ 11-year, $300 million ($27.2 million AAV) deal with the Phillies and Xander Bogaerts’ 11-year, $280 million ($25.4 million AAV) contract with the Padres likely won the idea of ​​stretching length for luxury. tax purposes, which means a lower AAV.

When told about the Mets’ interest in Correa last week and asked for a contract prediction, industry sources suggested it wouldn’t be surprising to see the length go to 13 years. That’s the length the Giants had offered him for $350 million ($26.9 million AAV). The Mets’ 12-year, $315 million offer puts Correa at a similar AAV.

What about money in the long run?

Yes, they can still sign. shohei ohtani. Ohtani will become 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 Correa shouldn’t change that.

For the Mets, a long-term contract with Correa made sense. They had the flexibility. And Correa is probably a star worth having for a while.

After their decisions this winter, the Mets were already on track to pass at least the first level of the threshold in 2024. Even if Scherzer opts out, his total AAV for players with guaranteed contracts is already $205 million, and that’s only for nine players.

That total figure for 2024 also doesn’t take into account that by the end of 2023, Ohtani is one of the few free agents the Mets may want to add. It also doesn’t reflect how much the Mets end up paying to Peter Alonso Y jeff mcneil until their last year of arbitration or in their respective extensions; both are set to be free agents after the 2024 season.

By 2025, the Mets’ guaranteed AAV commitments will be reduced to Lindor, Correa, Nimmo, Starling Marte, Edwin Diaz and Kodai Senga for a total of about $127 million.

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

What would the 2023 lineup look like?

At long last, the Mets have secured powerful protection for Alonso, no matter what the lineup looks like.

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

CF Brandon Nimmo (left)

3B Carlos Correa (R)

SS Francisco Lindor (P)

1B Pete Alonso (right)

R.F. Starling Mars (R)

2B Jeff McNeil (left)

LF canha brand (R)

dh daniel vogelbach (L)

C. Omar Narvaez (L)

The order can go a few different ways: Marte could hit second, for example, with Correa moving to fifth, but those are the probable nine. Against a left-handed starting pitcher, the Mets could be the starter. Thomas Nest as a receiver and use switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar at DH, among other internal options.

Lower on the considerations list, adding Correa gives the Mets great shortstop protection behind Lindor. Luis Guillermowho missed time last summer with a groin injury, is an excellent defender at any infield position and was previously the Mets’ second-best choice at shortstop.

What could happen next?

The Mets will make trades.

Receiver james mccann, who is owed $24 million over 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 projected third baseman before Correa’s arrival, so he, too, could be on the move. Mets may also trade starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, but that would detract from its depth. At one point, a rival executive said they were also quietly exploring trades for Marte, but trading him would be a significant blow to their lineup and the Mets are clearly trying to win.

With the left side of the infield locked up for the long haul, would the Mets be more incentivized to trade prospects? Brett Batty either Mark Winds? Both play third base, but can also play left field and designated hitter. The Mets could still use some depth in the outfield and it wouldn’t be surprising if they looked to further supplement their bullpen. For Cohen’s Mets, no improvement should be seen as unrealistic.

At this point, Cohen has offered no indication that cost matters. Any deal the Mets make from here should be designed to continue to increase their chances and expectations of winning a championship.

(Photo above Carlos Correa: Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today)

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