Right when you thought the Mets would be wrapping up the Carlos Correa physical in time to sneak his finalized deal under the Christmas tree, something just had to happen.
As you were finishing up that last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve, The Athletic dropped a report that Mets fans didn’t want to read. New York has similar concerns about Correa’s leg as the San Francisco Giants did.
If you read the report from Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes, it certainly sounds a little doom and gloom. Not long after it dropped, Metsmerized’s Mike Mayer momentarily calmed people down with this tweet:
The Mets have been discussing the physical issue with Boras for the last day and all indications I’ve been given is that a deal with Carlos Correa is still likely.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) December 24, 2022
We know the issue with Correa’s leg is the injury he suffered sliding into third base on a triple as a minor leaguer in 2014. Despite getting flagged by two teams, this injury hasn’t been an issue since debuting with the Houston Astros in 2015.
But of course, with the nature of Correa’s agreed-upon Mets contract (12 years for $315 million), the physical was more in-depth than for a one- or two-year deal. Doctors also have to think about how surgically repaired issues will hold up over the long term.
I spoke with injury expert, Will Carroll, about what’s going on here. He laid out a couple of potential things that could be happening.
The worst-case scenario? Correa is experiencing avascular necrosis in and/or around his ankle. This could be caused by cartilage wearing down or an arthritic change in the area that was surgically repaired. Carroll did say that while this is the worst thing that could be happening, it’s probably not an issue.
Another thing that doctors could be concerned with is the plate itself. It’s been nearly a decade since it was put into his leg. So, there’s a chance doctors don’t think it’ll hold up for the length of this contract. Carroll said that if this is an issue, it can typically be fixed quickly. Surgeons could pull out and replace the original hardware, which would lead to a six-week absence before returning to the field.
The Mets’ concern certainly validates how the Giants’ 13-year, $350 million deal fell apart earlier this week. However, multiple media outlets are still saying a deal is likely, and it’s not hard to see why. Outside of Steve Cohen already publicly commenting on the contract, New York and Correa both need each other. This is the bat the Mets had been searching for, and there’s no way Correa would get another $300 million contract if he once again hit the free-agent market.
Maybe the overall guarantee gets altered. There could be some extra language added specifically for the concern itself. Maybe parts of the back half of his contract aren’t guaranteed in full.
This isn’t happening without precedent. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo mentioned that Ivan Rodriguez and his agent (also Scott Boras) agreed to a termination clause with the Detroit Tigers in 2004 if he spent more than 35 days on the injured list with a lower spine injury. That was never an issue.
Overall, this is more of a long-term conversation. Carroll mentioned this could be a problem in 8-10 years. That’s a long time from now, but it’s obviously still during the term of the agreed-upon contract, which is why this is taking longer to finalize than usual.
It seems like this will still get across the finish line, mostly because both sides want to find a way to make this work. At least from what we can tell.