Long ago, when Carlos Correa only agreed to one mega-deal — namely the Giants’ 13-year, $350 million deal — Mets owner Steve Cohen lamented to the Post that he had missed Correa (the first time), and he said, “There will always be another free agent.
A few days later, it looked like that free agent might be Correa. But alas, that was not to be the case. Cohen really liked what Correa brought – the glove, the personality and the extra bat, which he felt was “necessary” – and he’s surely disappointed he didn’t acquire it following the disagreement over his physique and on how to resolve this difference via contract language. changes. But there will be more opportunities, which is the nice thing about free agency and having a net worth that rivals some smaller countries.
Unfortunately, the timing here is not ideal. By the time Correa agreed to his third deal, the one that stuck — the six-year, $200 million Twins deal — the remaining free agent market contains no more stars at their peak, let alone superstars. Cohen is a big game hunter, and it’s fun to guess who might be next. Some ideas:
The Padres expect him to opt out, especially after the way they and others have paid top free agents this winter. He and manager Buck Showalter have been close for days together in Baltimore.
He probably shouldn’t be No. 2 on any list, but one wonders if he would go to New York. A baseball executive said he bluntly said Ohtani didn’t want to come here when he was first free five years ago. (His managers say that was a long time ago and tastes change, but of course they have to hope he would consider Cohen’s team for negotiation reasons, which will go crazy for the best anyway player of the world.) The Dodgers look set for a run at Ohtani, and bidding is expected to reach at least $500 million.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
Yet another Padre has been rumored to be potential trade bait (the Padres say they’re not buying him). I would say, stay away until he can prove himself more reliable. Flashes of grandeur are nice but not at this rate. His $340 million deal, which coincidentally inspired Francisco Lindor’s $341 million Mets deal, is heavily delayed.
He’s a formidable defender and, like Machado, as a free agent he could take third place with Eduardo Escobar’s contract expiring after 2023. Nonetheless, his offense has lagged in the past two years.
He’ll be the best pitcher in the market next year (unless you count Ohtani as a pitcher, and maybe even then), he’s young, he’s got the clutch. Don’t neglect.
He begs to be traded, and maybe he will be. But the Crosstown Yankees, Marlins and others are more obvious. He’s a very good player but he doesn’t have the cachet of a Correa.
Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff
There’s no real indication that either will be dealt or that the Brewers will trade one to the Mets.
One thing people wonder is why the Mets didn’t just give Correa the same six-year, $200 million contract he eventually signed with the Twins. It would seem like a bargain after initially agreeing to $315 million, and maybe the Mets will regret not doing it, but it most likely comes down to the tax and a desire to keep the AAV (salary average annual) relatively low.
Cohen told me “what difference does it make” compared to the relatively small extra money he was spending (for him), but at the end of the day, there are lines for everyone, even him. Cohen pays a 90% tax (the Steve Cohen tax), so $33 million is actually $63 million a year. Correa is really good. But is it that good?
The Twins, below the tax threshold, pay only the salary of $33.33 million, and no additional taxes. Cohen would therefore have paid double if they had finalized the agreement.
For those who thought Cohen had no limit, we may have finally found it.